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New federal cyber security strategy announced

Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neil has announced that the Albanese government is in the process of developing a new cyber security strategy.

user icon Daniel Croft
Thu, 08 Dec 2022
New federal cyber security strategy announced
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During her address to the National Press Club, Minister O’Neil has called Australia “unnecessarily vulnerable” to cyber attacks, with the lack of preparedness over the last decade ushering in the need for a new strategy.

“I am announcing a major program of work to develop a new cyber security strategy for Australia,” said Minister O’Neil.

“The cyber security strategy will help Australia bring the whole nation into the fight to protect our citizens and to protect our economy.

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“It will help us strengthen critical infrastructure and government networks. It will help us build sovereign capabilities in cyber security, because this is something Australia must be able to do for itself.

“And it will help us strengthen our international engagement, so Australia can play a leadership role on the global stage, and work in partnership with our Pacific neighbours to handle cyber security across our region.”

Minister O’Neil had previously said that it would be reviewing former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s cyber security strategy and would look to develop better links with the US, Japan and India, and decrease independence on China for critical technologies, in light of faltering Beijing supply chains.

Led by former Telstra chief executive officer (CEO) Andy Penn, Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre CEO Rachael Falk, and Air Marshal (ret’d) Mel Hupfeld, the strategy will bring the fight to cyber crime on multiple fronts.

“In addition to this amazing group of Australians, some of the biggest cyber guns from around the world love the scale of our ambition [and] they have agreed to help,” she said.

“Former UK Cyber Security Centre CEO and … Oxford University professor Ciaran Martin will lead a global cyber-expert panel, who will ensure our work really is world leading. Across government, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher will work with me on the government-facing aspects of the strategy and assistant minister Tim Watts will lead our international focus.

Minister O’Neil aims to make Australia the most cyber-secure country in the world by 2030.

The new cyber security strategy is already receiving support from cyber security experts, with Adrian Covich — senior director, APJ for Proofpoint — backing up the move as a “necessary development”.

“The federal government’s announcement of a new cyber security strategy for a cyber-secure Australia is a timely and necessary development that we hope will play a critical role in bolstering Australia’s cyber resilience,” he said.

“As global geopolitical and economic pressures look set to impact Australia into 2023, we are likely to see increased cyber criminal activity and increased systemic risk to our critical infrastructure services and supply chains.

“While the cyber security strategy is a positive step forward, we must ensure collaboration between government, enterprises, industry partners and educational institutions so that as a nation, we have the capabilities and cyber skills required to safeguard Australia.”

In announcing the new strategy, Minister O’Neil said that it was an “absolute shocker” that Scott Morrison made the decision to abolish the cyber security ministry, a great contrast to what the Albanese government has achieved in bolstering the nations cyber security.

The federal government recently passed a bill that would increase the fine for companies who fail to secure customer data. The penalty for “serious” or “repeated” breaches was raised from $2.2 million to $50 million.

Minister O’Neil and the government has also established a 100-strong task force that will “hack the hackers” and make Australia a hostile environment for bad actors.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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