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Australia and its business community bolster cyber defences as threats of digital crime escalate

A high-powered government advisory panel has recommended Australia and its business community bolster cyber defences as threats of digital crime escalate.

With technology sitting at the heart of the lives of most Australians, and increasingly shaping our economy, society and future, having a strategy to contend with cyber crime has never been more important, the report says.

Cyber crime in Australia includes everything from state sponsored hacking to workmates stealing passwords and using them illegitimately. Throughout COVID19 cyber crime has surged both locally and globally. Demand for experts in cyber security will rocket as governments and businesses put more focus on preventing cyber breaches.

The federal government asked a panel of experts to make recommendations on improving Australia’s cyber defences.
“We are seeing increased levels of malicious cyber activity, both state-based and criminal,” said chair of the panel and chief executive of Telstra, Andy Penn. “Successfully meeting this challenge requires upgrading Australia’s cyber defences to be strong, adaptive and built around a strategic framework that is coordinated, integrated and capable.”

The key pillars of the 60 recommendations made by the panel are

  • Deterrence – establish consequences for criminals targeting businesses and Australians.
  • Prevention – increase expertise within sectors to defend cyber crime.
  • Detection – improved sharing of information between government and business
  • Resilience – strengthen incident response and victim support mechanisms.
  • Investment – increase resources to fights cyber crime.

The federal government’s Cyber Security Strategy Industry Advisory Panel included Mr Penn, the chair of Tesla Robyn Denholm, and former US Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.

Many of the recommendations of the panel make it clear that it believes businesses should protect itself from cyber crime, including much greater awareness of how to prevent attacks. This will come down to training and having the right people in jobs to defend cyber crime. Australia doesn’t have enough of those people now, and training is critical to establishing a much larger workforce of cyber professionals.

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