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WA launches Cybers Security Operations Centre

The Innovation and ICT Minister on 29 September 2020 announced $1.8 million of funding in the upcoming State Budget for the establishment of the State Government’s new Cyber Security Operations Centre. The new whole-of-government Cyber Security Operations Centre will significantly improve the visibility of cyber threats against agencies’ networks and the Government’s capability to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents.

The new operations centre will support existing complementary efforts to improve cybersecurity resilience across government. It will also expand and complement the existing dedicated cybersecurity team within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s Office of Digital Government.

Staff in the new operations centre will be trained cybersecurity professionals, with the centre also offering further avenues of work and training for cybersecurity TAFE and university students participating in the Office of Digital Government’s work-integrated learning program.

The Office of Digital Government will today open applications for the recruitment of a whole‑of‑government pool of cybersecurity experts. Successful applicants will be placed in the Cyber Security Operations Centre team, another team within the Office of Digital Government’s Cyber Security Unit or in other public sector agencies. To apply, those interested can visit the website. 

The Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly stated that the launch of the whole-of-government Cyber Security Operations Centre is a first for Western Australia and the first of its kind in Australia. During COVID-19, the nation saw a rise in malicious cyber activity in terms of frequency, scale, and sophistication. The Government is committed to building the cybersecurity capability within the State Government, the community and industry.

The new operations centre will provide unprecedented visibility of threats against agencies’ networks, as well as improve the State Government’s ability to coordinate and respond to cybersecurity threats against its systems. The Cyber Security Operations Centre will create further jobs and opportunities for cybersecurity professionals in WA.

Calls for improved cybersecurity measures heeded

Recently, OpenGov Asia reported that over the last year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (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. 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.

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