September 29, 2020

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Australia ramping up cyber resilience capacity

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) annual cyber threat report has shown a marked increase in cyber threats over its 12-month reporting period between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Over the last year, the ACSC responded to 2,266 cybersecurity incidents and received 59,806 cybercrime reports, at an average of 164 cybercrime reports per day, or one report every 10 minutes.  Of the 2,266 incidents reported, 828 were assessed as being Category 5 (Moderate Incident) with 754 assessed as Category 4 (substantial Incident).

Incidents reported by Commonwealth, state and territory governments accounted for more than a third of all incidents (35.4%). The nation’s critical infrastructure sectors including electricity, water, health, communications and education represented around 35%of the incidents responded to by the ACSC.

Malicious cyber activity against Australia’s national and economic interests is increasing in frequency, scale, and sophistication. Ransomware is one of the most significant threats because of its potential to damage government operations.

Between March 10 and 26, it received more than 45 pandemic-themed cybercrime and cybersecurity incident reports.

Image credit: ACSC

“While our cyber adversaries are becoming more adept, the likelihood and severity of cyber-attacks are also increasing due to our growing dependence on new information technology platforms and interconnected devices and systems,” the ACSC says.

Australia is comprehensively ramping up its cyber resilience capacities. On 30 June 2020, the Government announced a $1.35 billion Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package to boost protection and cyber resilience for all Australians.

Under the Government’s CESAR package, the ACSC will continue working with AFP and ACIC to enhance capabilities to prevent and disrupt cybercrime targeting Australia.

CESAR will also provide funding towards enhancing ReportCyber, improving the detection of widespread cybercrime campaigns and enabling the effective sharing of threat intelligence and cybersecurity advice to all Australians.

Recently OpenGov Asia reported on the government of New South Wales’ three-year investment of $180 million that aims to broaden the scope of Cyber Security NSW to help protect the state against cyber-crime.

The task force of experts will enhance NSW’s world-class cybersecurity infrastructure. The extra funding will allow the government to quadruple the size of its central cybersecurity team.

Cyber Security NSW will strengthen cyber capability in government agencies while working with emergency management, law enforcement, the private sector and other industries.

The investment into Cyber Security NSW is the first instalment of the $240 million cybersecurity funding announced in June 2020. Cybersecurity is critical in ensuring the NSW Government provides secure, trusted and resilient services. As the NSW Government continues its digital transformation – maintaining and enhancing our cybersecurity capabilities is paramount.