Addressing Emerging cyber threats


Written by Dr Robyn Torok – Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, Macquarie University

Australia like other developed countries is becoming increasingly reliant on information and communication technologies. With this dependency comes an increased risk of attempts to undermine the function and integrity of these technologies. In addition, there is also much potential to exploit these technologies for criminal or terrorist purposes. Cyber crime has massive economic implications and costs Australia over $1 billion a year.

However, there is often much debate about who is responsible for cyber security and what role the government should play. Furthermore, while the responsibilities of private industry to protect their business may be self-evident, the point at which there must be wider governmental responsibility for the security of aspects such as network infrastructures is less clear cut. Moreover, there is also need for further clarification on how government can better support both industry and individuals to develop better cyber security strategies.

In recognising the increasing importance of Australia’s future cyber security, especially in relation to our economic development, the Commonwealth Government has recently taken a number of decisive steps.

Firstly, in 2009 there was the release of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy. This paper recognised cyber security as one of Australia’s top national security priorities. Better detecting and analysing threats as well as supporting business and individuals were all key aspects to be developed. In addition, the need to better protect Australia’s digital infrastructure was also recognised. A number of important strategies and priorities were identified in this paper.

Secondly, in January 2010 the government opened the Cyber Security Operations Centre which although run by the Department of Defence also co-ordinates with other stakeholders such as the Attorney Generals Department, ASIO and the Australian Federal Police. The opening of such a centre was an important step by the government in recognising the need to actively monitor threats to Australia’s cyber networks. This centre marked a significant step forward in the fight against threats that are continually emerging and evolving.

Thirdly and most significantly, was the announcement in June this year of Australia’s first Cyber White Paper. The Cyber White Paper recognises the importance of Australia’s cyber security, particularly in terms of the digital economy. Wide spread public consultation will take place as part of the process of developing the final paper… To read more subscribe to the magazine today!


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