In brief

  • Australia’s federal government has released its Cyber Security Strategy, which establishes a national agenda to promote cyber security in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Cyber Security Strategy involves five key themes of action that will be pursued over the next four years through government and private sector collaboration.

Summary

On 21 April 2016 Australia’s federal government released its Cyber Security Strategy (CSS). The CSS establishes five themes of action for Australia’s cyber security over the next four years to 2020:

  • a national cyber partnership,
  • strong cyber defences,
  • global responsibility and influence,
  • growth and innovation, and
  • a cyber smart nation.

Cyber security – critical to Australia’s future

The CSS is founded on the notion that strong cyber security is a fundamental aspect of the growth and prosperity of the global economy and is vital to Australia’s national security. Many of the measures outlined in the CSS envisage their realisation through partnership between Australian federal, State and Territory governments, the private sector, and the wider community.

In unveiling the CSS, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted that Australia has the ability to launch cyber-attacks of its own, nothing that “[a]n offensive capability housed in the Australian Signals Directorate provides another option for Government to respond.

Key initiatives of the CSS

The CSS, which will involve government investment of $230 million, establishes a number of key initiatives in relation to each of its themes, including the following:

  • the government will appoint Australia’s first Cyber Ambassador, publish an international cyber engagement strategy, and partner internationally to shut down safe havens for cyber attackers, with a particular focus on the Indo-Pacific region,
  • the government will host an annual cyber security leaders’ meeting, where the Prime Minister and business leaders will set the strategic cyber security agenda and drive the implementation of the CSS,
  • cyber threat information sharing will be facilitated through the implementation of a layered approach involving the Australian Cyber Security Centre, Joint Cyber Threat Centres, and an online cyber threat sharing portal,
  • national voluntary Cyber Security Guidelines will be co-designed by government and the private sector to specify good practice, and the Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions publication1 will be updated by the Australian Signals Directorate,
  • a Cyber Security Growth Centre (CSGC) will be established by the government in collaboration with the private sector. The CSGC will coordinate a national cyber security innovation network that pioneers cutting edge cyber security research and innovation, and
  • the government will address the shortage of cyber security professionals in the workforce, including by establishing centres of cyber security excellence in Australian universities.

You can access the CSS here.

This article was written by Alistair Haskett, Solicitor, Melbourne.