It’s been clear since mid-April that the Turnbull Government was serious about its cyber security with the launch of its Cyber Security Strategy (CSS). The CSS provides funding for more than 100 extra cyber security experts brought in from the academic and private spheres with the aim of increasing cyber security education, coordinating cross-border cyber security efforts and generally tackling the threats that cyber criminals pose to Australia.
However, we had to wait until the budget this week to really understand how the CSS will be funded.
On Tuesday evening, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced that the Government was to invest in public-private partnerships “to back Australian businesses to develop and promote their cyber security capabilities globally”. Upon reviewing the budget papers, hidden deep within on page 134 of Paper #2, this investment primarily takes the form of:
- relocating the Australian Cyber Security Centre (which is currently located in the ASIO offices) so it is better able to engage with the private sphere ($39 million);
- establishing various Joint Cyber Threat Centres ($47 million) and academically focussed Centres of Cyber Security Excellence ($3.5 million);
- developing guidelines for best practice and providing general education on cyber security ($14 million); and
- increased funding to CERT ($21 million) and law enforcement bodies to fight cybercrime ($36 million).
The budget also reallocates resources within existing departments, such as $15 million in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to essentially provide grants to small businesses to test their cyber resilience.
Whilst the threats to cyber security may be daunting, it is at least some comfort that the Australian Government is investing money to help combat the threat.