The Australian Prime Minister has unveiled a plan to boost the nations cyber defenses which focuses on closer collaboration with business.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged publicly for the first time the existence of Australia’s offensive military cyber arsenal, as part of a $230 million plan to boost the nation’s cyber defenses. The plan will involve recruiting universities and businesses to fight the rise of criminal, terrorist and state-sponsored cyber-crime.
“I can confirm reports that the Bureau of Meteorology suffered a significant cyber intrusion which was first discovered early last year, and the Department of Parliamentary Services suffered a similar intrusion in recent years,” he said. “Those organizations have worked hard with the experts at the Australian Cyber Security Centre to understand and fix the vulnerabilities.”
Mr Turnbull also admitted for the first time that the Federal Government has the ability to launch cyber-attacks.
“An offensive cyber capability housed in the Australian signals directorate provides another option for Government to respond,” he said.
The government has recently confirmed reports the Bureau of Meteorology and Department of Parliamentary Services have been targets of malicious cyber-attacks in recent years.
Businesses will be encouraged to share their most confidential – and potentially embarrassing – details of cyber hacks against them with Australia’s intelligence agencies through a $47.3 billion project to trial high-security “joint cyber threat-sharing centers” in metropolitan cities and an online “sharing” portal.
Until recently, governments have been secretive about their cyber capabilities, particularly their offensive operations against enemies, for fear of attracting reprisal attacks.
Australia will follow the lead of the US and Britain in acknowledging explicitly its ability to unleash its own cyber-attacks – which can include digital sabotage of enemy computer networks, malware, and misinformation – as a deterrent to state-sponsored hackers, organized crime and terrorist groups. Many governments have come to the conclusion that the best cyber defenses and cyber offense!