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Officially launched on 29 November 2022, the ANU School of Cybernetics provides unrivalled teaching and research that pioneers a new approach to engineering and technology design. School Director, ANU Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell, noted that the School nurtures and trains a new generation of critical thinkers and practitioners who can navigate an increasingly complex world and who are committed to ensuring safe, sustainable, and responsible technology futures.

She said the new School’s leadership is working hard to help transform the way society engages with technology. Their aim is to help ensure that everyone can participate in building the future. And they are working to find new ways to think about and talk about the role of technology in our lives. The ANU School of Cybernetics is dedicated to helping lead and enrich this vital conversation.

The School and its curriculum draw on the rich history of cybernetics globally and reimagine it for the 21st-century challenges. The goal is to make sure major societal transformations can be successfully navigated.

The ANU School of Cybernetics offers the Master of Applied Cybernetics, a PhD program that recruits students as a cohort, and a series of microlearning experiences for organisations, communities, and individuals.

The School’s research program investigates how emerging cyber-physical, technological systems – such as robotics, digital voice assistants, and autonomous systems – operate across a range of settings and sectors including the creative industries, marine sciences, agriculture, and climate change research.

Distinguished Professor Bell said another key focus of the School was examining who is building and managing our AI-enabled future. There is a need to develop the ability to respond quickly to changing situations and complex systems and many, diverse voices must be involved in making those decisions and building new knowledge, she said.

The last few years have shown that better stories about the future need to be told; stories that are more equitable, fair, and just, and that, equally, more work needs to be present to make those stories not just possible but true.

To help launch the School, an inaugural curated exhibition featuring more than 100 historical and contemporary pieces is on display until 2 December in the award-winning Birch Building on the ANU campus.

From the world’s first computer graphics, animations, special effects, and electronic music, Australian Cybernetic: a point through time explores 50 years of technology and creativity in computing that have influenced the technology, cinema, gaming, and television we know today.

The collection of interactive, immersive, and provocative creations also includes an Emmy Award-winning virtual reality film; an acclaimed installation examining the resources, human labour, and algorithmic processing of a virtual assistant technology system; and a kinetic sculpture named ‘Albert’ that has been delighting audiences for 54 years, among many other displays.

The cybernetic futures lead at the School said the exhibition speaks firmly to the School’s approach of observing the past to help shape a course for the role of technologies in today’s world. He noted that for the first time, historic, contemporary, and conceptual cybernetic works are being brought together in a unique exhibition. People are invited to take a tour through time and learn about the history of technology and art and how this contributed to cybernetics and the multimedia, tech and music enjoyed today.

A report published by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has detailed the successful trial of a new sensor-based platform with the potential to better support older Australians to live in their own home longer. The report, titled DACS: Smarter Safer Homes to Support Older People Living in Their Own Homes Through Enhanced Care Model, is based on findings of research to trial the Smarter Safer Homes (SSH) sensor-based platform. Developed by CSIRO, SSH was the first consumer-driven smart home technology in the world to help people live independently in their homes.

The CEO of CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre noted that trials found statistically significant evidence that older people living with SSH showed their social care-related quality of life decrease was 10 times less than the control group who experienced usual care. He said that the outcomes of the trial reveal that SSH technology is beneficial in ensuring older people can live independently in their homes for longer.

Service providers, family members and other caregivers can check a data dashboard that reveals patterns in an older person’s behaviour. Any changes in the patterns may indicate a need for action. For example, if mobility patterns change, this may suggest a fall or injury, prompting a check-in.

A co-author of the report stated that this technology in the hands of Australia’s aged care workforce will benefit older people who are living at home and receiving community care services.

The platform is perfect for connecting families living apart, as people often are these days. For example, there is a family member in Brisbane, another in Adelaide and an ageing parent living in a rural town. SSH would help the family to support their parent from a distance. In addition to community aged care support, the technology could allow the parent to stay in their home for longer if they wish. This technology takes the guesswork away from the question of a user’s family’s well-being when they are not around, she said.

Participants in the trial said they loved the safety and comfort SSH gave to them and their family, while service providers commented on the usefulness of quantitative information about a client’s functional independence over time. The platform comprises ambient sensors that collect data from the physical environment within the home and use artificial intelligence to turn that data into relevant information.

The platform includes a sensor-based in-home monitoring system (data collection), a cloud computing server (data analyses), and a client module (data presentation) with a tablet app, a family portal, and a service provider portal. The SSH platform was an output of consultations with aged care service providers who contributed to its initial design.

The Dementia and Aged Care Services (DACS) trial of the SSH platform commenced in 2019 and involved 195 participants who tested the sensors in their homes. The SSH algorithm has been licensed and commercialised by a Sydney-based provider of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies and deployed with numerous aged care providers in acute and post-acute care facilities.

The global smart home market size was US$86.48 billion in 2020. The market is expected to grow from US$99.89 billion in 2021 to US$380.52 billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during the 2021-2028 period.

An increasing number of internet users, the growing disposable income of consumers in developing economies, the rising importance of home monitoring in remote areas, and the growing demand for low-carbon emission and energy-saving-oriented solutions are projected to drive the market capabilities.

With the introduction of its Kooha Version 2.0 during the recently held 2022 National Science and Technology Week celebration, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) showered photo enthusiasts with helpful tips on interactive smartphone photography.

Kooha is a photo-sharing app derived from the Filipino word “kuha,” which means “to take.” It capitalises on the Philippines’ status as “the selfie capital of the world,” with thousands of photographs shared on various social media platforms every day.

With the help of the camera app Kooha, users may take pictures that go beyond simple snapshots. Multiple sensors are embedded into mobile devices; Kooha uses these sensor data while users snap pictures and embeds them in the image.

Users will be able to quickly learn the location where the photo was shot, the background noise when they shoot a selfie, the network provider’s signal strength, the device battery level, camera settings, environment sensor data, motion sensor, and more. All the photographs captured by the app are shared on Kooha Community. Users’ photos become more than just images when they post them to the community; they become contributions.

When the sensor data from the images is combined with the large pool of sensor data from other users, the data becomes societally important. The data can assist data scientists in generating insights and fresh knowledge that can be used by decision-makers across the country. Kooha is a free app that can be downloaded from Google Play.

According to the DOST-ASTI, Kooha uses the built-in sensors of a mobile device to gather real-time data like sound level, temperature, and humidity and embeds it into a snapshot, making it particularly valuable in research operations across industries thanks to the fresh knowledge it produces.

It added that even more useful Kooha features include the ability to contribute images to the community section, rate shared photos based on “awards” from other users, map the locations of pinned photos, and unlock “badges” by completing specific “achievements.”

As a useful tool application, Kooha reflects the reality that science and the arts may collaborate effectively to produce meaningful results. In addition, the DOST- ASTI’s Quality Management System (QMS) was recertified in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard.

Director of DOST-ASTI Franz A. de Leon stated that the ISO recertification demonstrates the DOST-ASTI’s dedication to continuously enhance its operations and assure successful service delivery – bringing science and technology closer to the people.

He added that their partners and stakeholders can be confident that the institute will constantly offer high-quality products and services because they adhere to the quality policy of developing relevant, timely, and impactful ICT- and electronics-based innovations.

The ISO certificate was the result of the DOST-ASTI management and staff’s collaborative efforts to expand its technologies and ensure the smooth execution of its mandate and functions. Reviewing and improving processes is critical to achieving the agency’s purpose of contributing to the achievement of national development priorities and the growth of Philippine firms through the provision of creative solutions centred on ICT and electronics technology.

This is DOST-ASTI’s second recertification since transitioning to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in 2018. Subject to regular surveillance assessments, the certificate is valid until November 2025.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing recently hosted the inaugural Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX), which was organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS). Over 100 people from the DIS and 16 other national agencies working in the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors took part in the cyber defence exercise.

The largest Operational Technology (OT) Critical Infrastructure defence exercise, CIDeX is supported by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), iTrust/SUTD, and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL).

CIDeX is designed to train and strengthen the Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities to detect and address cyber security threats to Information Technology (IT) and OT networks that control the operations of critical infrastructure.

Over the course of the two days, members of the Blue Teams, which included individuals from the national agencies acting as cyber defenders, guarded the exercise’s digital infrastructure, which included an enterprise IT network and three OT testbeds that replicated a water treatment plant, a water distribution plant, and a power grid system, from real-time simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team made up of DIS and CSA personnel.

Attacks on the IT network and OT testbeds were included in exercise scenarios. These attacks included poisoning the water treatment plant, stopping water distribution, and cutting off the power supply—all of which intended to disrupt operations and have a negative impact on the way of life. By using cyber tools to track, identify, and block Red Team cyberattacks, participants improved their technical knowledge and intuition for defending cyber networks.

In order to strengthen and perfect their cyber defence competencies prior to the exercise, the participants completed a three-day hands-on training course at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAFexpanded )’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp.

Alongside the exercise, Defence Cyber Chief (DCC) Brigadier-General (BG) Edward Chen and CSA’s Deputy Chief Executive (Development), Gaurav Keerthi, inked a Joint Operations Agreement (JOA) between the DIS and CSA. A framework for collaboration and cooperation in joint operations and capability development is established by the CSA-DIS JOA, which will help create a secure national cyberspace.

The DIS is aware of the need of cultivating close cooperation with CSA and other national agencies in safeguarding Singapore’s cyberspace, according to BG Edward, who emphasised the need for close partnership in securing Singapore’s cyberspace.

He acknowledged that the Joint Operations Agreement between the CSA and the DIS is a significant step in broadening their alliance and institutionalising their existing collaboration in areas like joint cyber training. They give the national cyber defenders a forum to practise together and improve their capacity to defend Singapore’s critical infrastructure systems by cooperating on massive cyber exercises like CIDeX.

Furthermore, CSA’s Deputy Chief Executive Gaurav remarked that cybersecurity is a collaborative effort, and the CSA welcomes the Digital and Intelligence Service to this team. The CSA has a long history of collaboration on national cyber defence with MINDEF/SAF.

Exercises like CIDeX guarantee that everyone is ready for cyber crises and emergencies. The CSA-DIS Joint Operations Agreement confirms SAF’s sustained assistance for Singapore’s cyberspace defence.

OpenGov Asia recently reported that the DIS had been launched by the Service of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). As the SAF’s fourth military service or branch, it is responsible for defending the nation from evolving and intricate digital and electronic threats in cyberspace.

The SAF’s existing command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) and cyber capabilities are combined and integrated into DIS, according to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). DIS consists of a Service Headquarters (HQ), a Digital Ops-Tech Center, four Commands, and a few Joint and Cyber Staff departments.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) recently launched the fourth phase of the Digital Shakti Campaign, a pan-India project to digitally empower and upskill women in cyberspace.  In line with its commitment to creating safe spaces for women and girls online, Digital Shakti 4.0 is focused on training women with digital skills and enabling them to stand up against any illegal/inappropriate activity online. NCW launched it in collaboration with CyberPeace Foundation and a social networking giant.

According to a press release, while addressing the audience the NCW Chairperson, Rekha Sharma, highlighted the efforts of the commission to empower women in every sphere across the nation. This new phase will prove to be a milestone in ensuring safe cyber spaces for women. Digital Shakti has been accelerating the digital participation of women by training them to use technology to their advantage and to keep themselves safe online. The project will continue to contribute towards the larger goal of fighting cyber violence against women and girls and making the Internet a safer space for them, Sharma said.

The launch was followed by an interactive panel discussion titled, “Safe Spaces Online Combatting Cyber-Enabled Human Trafficking and Combatting Other forms of Online Violence”. It offered a platform for experts from the industry, government, and academia to share opinions and address the issue of women’s safety online from several aspects and provide a holistic approach to ensure better cybersecurity for women.

Launched in June 2018, Digital Shakti aims to raise digital awareness among women in India and build resilience, and fight cybercrime in the most effective ways. Through this project, over 300,000 women have been made aware of cyber safety tips and tricks, reporting and redressal mechanisms, data privacy, and emerging technology. The third phase of the programme was started in March 2021. In this phase, a Resource Centre was also developed under the project to provide information on all the avenues of reporting in case a woman faces any cybercrime.

The government has launched several initiatives over the past few years to help increase the rate of digital literacy among all citizens as well as government officials. Earlier, OpenGov Asia reported that an e-learning portal for the Department of Posts was launched to enhance the competencies of about 400,000 rural postal service and departmental employees by providing them access to standardised training content online or in a blended campus mode. This will enable them to effectively deliver several government-to-citizen (G2C) services for enhanced customer satisfaction. The training videos and quizzes on the portal are available in 12 Indian languages.

After completing the final summative assessment, a system-generated course completion certificate will be sent to the trainee’s registered email ID automatically. Trainees can also submit feedback, ratings, and suggestions for all learning content.

To produce a consolidated database system for 3D visualisation and analysis of surface and subsurface information, the 3D Philippines Information System was created and led by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) and the De La Salle University (DLSU).

This initiative is monitored by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

An output of the 3D Philippines Programme, the 3D Philippines Information System is a web-based application that was created as a platform to offer researchers from national government agencies, local government units, and other sectors a centralised database system for storing, accessing and facilitating hazards and risk assessment of surface and subsurface information. The 3D Philippines fully supports the government’s drive for digital transformation to simplify operations and integrate, among other things, risk and hazard assessments.

One of the goals of 3D Philippines, according to Dr Teresito C. Bacolcol, PHIVOLCS Officer-in-Charge, is to incorporate borehole information into the GeoRiskPH Platform so that researchers can view subsurface information and subsequently assess subsurface conditions for geotechnical designs. “Our engineers would benefit greatly from the three-dimensional image we obtain with the borehole information integrated into the system.”

The System supports GeoRiskPH in managing and analysing scientific data to support programmes for research, planning, and disaster risk reduction. The goal of PHIVOLCS is to create a 3D workspace where scientists, engineers, and planners may work together. The organisation is hopeful that they will be able to develop a system that allows users to move things in a virtual reality environment and has envisioned putting this 3D facility nearby.

Publicly accessible platforms like HazardHunterPH and GeoAnalyticsPH will make 3D visualisation available to the general population. To let concerned stakeholders know that information on boreholes is available, the platforms will also indicate the general location of boreholes at different zoom levels.

More than 100 participants from the National Housing Authority (NHA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), and local government entities are expected to benefit from the training session.

Meanwhile, the people, communities, and local governments should not be complacent about the potential hazards and repercussions of tsunamis in their territories, according to officials and experts from the DOST-PHIVOLCS.

Diverse tsunami-prone localities have been receiving services from DOST-PHIVOLCS. To ensure that all LGUs are prepared to develop an appropriate and coordinated response action plan for the residents, it also entails monitoring, cascading pertinent information and warnings down to the local and barangay areas in various platforms and possible ways, and risk assessment.

The public, LGU officials, and responders can browse technology-based and mobile applications like Hazard Hunter, REDAS, and GeoRiskPH, which will eventually help them not only on the monitoring side but also to have a better understanding of various possible tsunami risks and hazards in particular areas.

The DOST-PHIVOLCS websites and social media profiles are among the channels that the agency has stressed as being useful in assisting every LGU in making better decisions. Since the Philippines is an archipelago and earthquakes frequently occur, it is crucial to have the proper knowledge regarding tsunamis and to be prepared for them.

The local government units in the nation are urged by DOST-PHIVOLCS to build and improve their tsunami warning systems and evacuation strategies to safeguard every Filipino, particularly those who live in coastal areas.

The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) released the results of the HKT Hong Kong Enterprise Cyber Security Readiness Index 2022. The Overall Index rose for the second successive year and surpassed 50 for the first time since the Index began in 2018 to 53.3 (maximum being 100), up 3.7 from last year. SMEs led the surge again, rising from 3.1 to 50.7. The Overall Index consists of four areas: Policy and Risk Assessment, Technology Control, Process Control, and Human Awareness Building.

In 2022, Process Control performed the best at 73.1 following a surge of 14.4 due to improvements being observed in both privileged access management and data backup management. However, Human Awareness Building remained an area of concern with a drop of 2.5 to 25.1.

By sector, Financial Services (65.7) continued to be the most vigilant at the Managed level, joined by Information and Communication Technology (61.1) which posted the highest increase of 8.9. Manufacturing, Trading and Logistics (57.5) also went up by 8.5.

The survey also found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of the enterprises surveyed have encountered cyber security attacks in the past 12 months, up 24 percentage points from last year. Phishing attacks were the most common type of cybersecurity attack being encountered by nearly all enterprises (94%); a significant uplift of 12 percentage points compared with last year. Email phishing (83%), particularly, was the most frequently used ploy with vishing (voice phishing) (32%) and spear phishing (28%) emerging.

This year, the survey continued to explore the opinions and deployments of the surveyed enterprises on managed security services (MSS) as well as their plans to enhance cyber security. It found that nearly half (49%) of enterprises surveyed have subscribed to MSS.

Concurrently, 31% of those not using MSS currently and planning to enhance cyber security said they would consider using the service in the next 12 months. Moreover, 48% of enterprises surveyed said a lack of IT support and management staff is their biggest challenge in cyber security management, up 3 percentage points compared with last year.

Moreover, the top three most important cyber security services selected by surveyed enterprises included firewalls/internet (62%), emails (56%) and solutions on remote access (50%), of which solutions on remote access were up 6 percentage points from last year, indicating higher demand due to the pandemic and the increased adoption of flexi-work location policy.

Among those enterprises with plans to enhance their cyber security, 69% of them plan to enhance cyber security in remote access management solutions, up 16 percentage points compared with last year, reflecting that enterprises deem the provision of a secure environment in a hybrid workplace to be critically important. In addition, 57% of those enterprises with plans to enhance their cyber security would strengthen cyber security training, surging by 11 percentage points compared with 2021.

The General Manager, Digital Transformation of HKPC stated that the Overall Index continued to rise, indicating that enterprises are attaching more importance to cyber security and investing more resources in it which is encouraging. However, he noted that staff security awareness remains the most difficult area to improve. This may be related to the continuous need to strengthen their security awareness as cyber-attacks increase in variety, volume and complexity, especially phishing attacks.

Therefore, enterprises must regularly conduct cyber security training and update the content to increase staff participation in the cyber security planning of the companies and improve their cyber security behaviours and awareness.

To help with this, the HKPC provides both relevant training courses and organises various activities as well as phishing drill services for enterprises to enhance employees’ ability to prevent and respond to such attacks. To enhance cyber security readiness to the Managed level, Hong Kong companies must formulate a comprehensive cyber security plan, allocate appropriate resources and implement it effectively.

Meanwhile, the Head of Commercial Solutions and Marketing, Commercial Group, HKT stated that recently, enterprises have been proactively seeking to drive digital transformation, the pace of which has been further accelerated as more companies implemented hybrid and remote work arrangements during the pandemic.

As cyber-attacks grow continuously more complex, enterprises must ramp up their cyber security strategies and execution. Faced with a shortage of relevant local talent, there has been an increased demand for managed cybersecurity services.

A wide array of managed cybersecurity service providers are currently available on the market. When choosing an appropriate partner, enterprises must consider whether the service provider possesses all-around accreditation and is capable of comprehensive support, including ISO 27001 and the top professional cyber security accreditations.

It is also important for the service provider to offer 24/7 monitoring and assistance across all geographic regions and time zones and has access to intelligence and information on the latest developments of global cyber security threats. On top of catering for large corporations, SME-targeted solutions offer greater agility in terms of operation and budget planning, which may prove more suitable for their needs.

In terms of cyber security support, local enterprises can browse HKPC’s Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT) website to conduct the Check Your Cyber Security Readiness online self-assessment and download the recently published Incident Response Guideline for SMEs.

In addition, the HKPC’s cyber security consultants also provide SMEs with cyber security and privacy assessments, as well as vulnerability scanning and penetration testing services.

Conducted independently by HKPC, supported by HKCERT and sponsored by HKT, the survey assesses the readiness of Hong Kong enterprises in tackling current cyber threats. In the survey, telephone interviews with 367 enterprises covering six industry categories were conducted in September 2022.

The Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Manh Hung, recently answered questions from legislators about digital transformation and the government’s fight against fake news.

Digital transformation has been identified by the Party and State as a new mode of development helping accelerate national industrialisation and modernisation. However, several issues regarding regulations, management, culture, human resources, enforcement, and budget pose a hindrance to growth. Hung claimed that if Vietnam doesn’t quickly address these problems, it will not only fail to capitalise on the chances of digital transformation but also face considerable risks during this process.

He noted that digital platforms are a breakthrough measure for promoting national digital transformation. As digital data is considered a type of resource, MIC has focused on developing digital platforms. This year, 52 digital platforms at the national level have been put into use; they have recorded hundreds of millions of downloads so far, he said.

Countries across the world view talent as the fundamental resource and the decisive factor in the mastery and application of science and technology. To boost human resources in this field, it is necessary to develop digital universities, which will be a measure for quickly creating digital technology human resources, Hung explained. MIC has also announced plans to form online training platforms for different groups of learners. Among those platforms, the resource platform “One Touch” has been running for six months, and about ten million Vietnamese people have used it to study, according to Hung.

Regarding the fight against fake news in cyberspace, Hung said that authorities have issued regulations stipulating acts and responsibilities of relevant sides, reduced the time limits for Internet service providers to remove fake news and harmful content (from 48 to 24 hours), and increased fines for fake news spreading by three-fold. However, the fines are equivalent to just one-tenth of those in other countries.

In the time ahead, MIC will urge the government to consider heavier fines to deter acts of spreading fake news, he said, noting the most fundamental solution is that the entire society, from ministries, sectors and organisations to individuals and families, takes an active and proactive part in this work.

In 2020, Vietnam approved a National Digital Transformation Programme by 2025, with an orientation toward 2030. The strategy helps accelerate digital transformation through changes in awareness, enterprise strategies, and incentives toward the digitalisation of businesses, administration, and production activities.

The programme targets businesses, cooperatives, and business households that want to adopt digital transformation to improve their production, business efficiency, and competitiveness. The plan aims to have 80% of public services at level 4 online. Over 90% of work records at ministerial and provincial levels will be online while 80% of work records at the district level and 60% of work records at the commune level will be processed online.

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