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Universal core cyber skills needed to bolster Australia’s online defences

Following outgoing Telstra CEO Andy Penn’s call for “greater government investment in education to strengthen Australias cyber protections”, global software company Elastic has put universal core cyber skills on the wishlist for an upcoming national skills summit.

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Mon, 29 Aug 2022
Universal core cyber skills needed to bolster Australia’s online defences
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In a recent speech, Andy Penn, the outgoing Telstra CEO warned the National Press Club audience that the online lives of Australians are increasingly vulnerable and their skills lacking.

According to the AAP, global software company Elastic’s regional vice president Anna Mascarello explained that the technology sector can do more at the grassroots level to feed the talent pool, too.

"We’re in conversation with Australian universities to understand how we can help support the curriculum and nurture the next generation of critical thinkers," she told the AAP.

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Malicious emails and dodgy text messages are the malicious cyber actor's preferred way of infecting devices and locking or stealing data, including private information, to faking credentials and raiding bank accounts.

Mascarello added that the government and industry working together to develop "sovereign and best-of-breed technical capability" will be critical for Australia’s wealth and security.

The productivity commission has pushed for industry certifications and short courses that could help build knowledge at a time when a skills shortage is holding Australia back on adopting digital technologies and cyber safeguards.

Software company Ivanti agrees with Penn's warning, highlighting the urgent need to develop stronger government-industry partnerships.

"More people working from home post-pandemic has expanded the attack surface, posing new security challenges," Ivanti VP, ANZ, Matthew Lowe, told the AAP.

"Organisations are lagging on investing in technology that can identify and combat vulnerabilities in real time.

"Yet artificial intelligence-based applications could help reduce cyber risk in advance, with less manual effort," Lowe added.

From energy grids to banking systems, strengthening the security posture of Australia's digital economy will also require organisations to invest in protecting data and systems and better educate workers.

Mascarello asserts that tech leaders should also look to a more inclusive talent pool to fill vacancies.

"It’s not enough to just fill roles."

"The current lack of diversity in many security teams poses risks because company systems aren’t homogeneous, and neither are potential assailants."

The two-day Jobs and Skills Summit begins on Thursday.

[Related: Google warns of new Chrome hack attacks aimed at Windows and Android]

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