It’s not all gloom and doom in the cyber security space, as Lynwen Connick, First Assistant Secretary of Cyber Policy and Intelligence in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, sees it. Speaking at CeBIT 2016, her message was an optimistic one in an area that can seem overwhelmingly pessimistic.
There can be no denying that the internet is, as Prime Minister Turnbull once said, themost transformative piece of infrastructure ever created. However, making the most of the opportunities the internet creates is dependent on our ability to trust in cyberspace – and the increasing number of cyber security incidents in recent years threatens to undermine this trust. Breaches in cyber security costs the Australian economy an estimated $17 billion a year, and damages businesses and their reputations, and compromises personal information.
To combat this, the government has released the ‘Australian Cyber Security Strategy’, with five themes of action over the next four years:
A national cyber partnership: bringing together government, businesses and the research community to advance Australia’s cyber security. Initiatives include regular leaders’ meetings and a new facility for the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
Strong cyber defences: making Australia’s networks and systems harder to compromise and more resilient to cyber attacks. Initiatives include an online cyber threat sharing portal, and making voluntary cyber security health checks available to small businesses.
Global responsibility and influence: actively promoting a free, open and secure internet. As the Prime Minister has said, ensuring the architecture of cyberspace remains free of government intervention is one of the key issues of our time.
Growth and innovation: ensuring Australian businesses grow and prosper through cyber security innovation. Cyber security is one of the fastest-growing sectors, and Australia is well placed to take advantage of this. To aid this, the government plans to establish a Cyber Security Growth Centre, which will bring together researchers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and traditional businesses, as well as the government, to provide innovative cyber security solutions to the nation.
A cyber-smart nation: giving Australians the cyber security skills and knowledge they need in order to thrive in the digital age. Initiatives include establishing academic centres of cyber security excellence within universities and programs within schools and businesses. This theme also aims to increase diversity within the profession by encouraging more women into the industry.
So while the threat to cyber security is very real – and growing – by being vigilant and taking up opportunities to advance our cyber security skills and knowledge, cyberspace can continue to bring prosperity to the nation.