We had reported recently on the cyber attacks that were occurring in Australia, and China seems to be the main culprit yet again. So, the government has wasted no time in getting right to the heart of the matter.
It has unveiled its Cyber Security Strategy For 2020, and its about ensuring Australians are secure online. The strategy sets out a plan to do just that. Cyber criminals are doing great harm, infiltrating systems from anywhere in the world, stealing money, identities and data from unsuspecting Australians.
They are taking advantage of COVID-19 to target families and businesses, including health and medical research facilities. And they are hiding on the dark web to traffic drugs and other illicit goods, and share abhorrent images of child abuse. This Strategy positions us to meet these evolving threats.
Its vision is a more secure online world for Australians, their businesses and the essential services upon which we all depend. Through this Strategy the Coalition Government will invest $1.67 billion over ten years in cyber security – the largest ever financial commitment to cyber security. They will develop new Government capabilities, incentivize industry to protect themselves and their customers, build trust in the digital economy, and support the community to be secure online.
Interestingly, the government is rolling out specific initiatives for SMEs. It’s quite obvious that the SMEs are always vulnerable to cyber security threats. This sector of the economy is always faced with a lack of resources or expertise to defend themselves and that can be a large impact on regional communities when cyber criminals target SMEs. The government will also provide online training and a 24/7 helpdesk for SMEs too.
Cyber security is one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia and worldwide. Its direct economic impact in 2019-20 is estimated at $15.7 billion in revenue, employing 19,475 people. Rapid technological advancement and the evolving threat environment will continue to generate demand in the cyber security sector. AustCyber forecasts that almost 17,000 new jobs will be needed to 2026.
Digital activity in 2019–20 directly contributed: $317 billion in gross output to the Australian economy; $105 billion (5.5%) to Australia’s GDP; and 527,726 jobs to the Australian economy. Cyber security enables the digital economy to grow and innovate, which is critical to Australia’s prosperity and recovery from COVID-19, as more people and businesses move online to create and deliver services and goods.
As the report states, “Both government and businesses have finite resources. The actions outlined in this Strategy address the most urgent issues. Technology is constantly changing; measures designed to improve security in today’s online world can be quickly overtaken by new technologies, systems, software and applications.”
It goes on to say that the Australian Government will continue to work with businesses and the community to ensure that all continue to take actions to create a more secure online world for Australians, their businesses and the essential services upon which we all depend.
The report also states that the standing Industry Advisory Committee will play a key role in advising the Minister what specific actions to take as part of this Strategy in the longer-term. The Minister will then periodically update this Strategy’s Action Plan and report to the Australian Government and the community on measures to continually enhance Australia’s cyber security.
We can only hope that Australia is prepared for a world that is more uncertain in the coming months and years. This pandemic, the trade wars, global supply chain disruptions and prevailing uncertainty has brought on more unpredictable battles in the cyber security arena. This is a country that is fighting the good fight.
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Anil started his career in journalism all the way back in 2003. After traversing the sphere of editorial, corporate communications and advertising, he has now come full circle and is back in the world of journalism. He believes in the power of the written word, and its ability to enthrall, delight and inform the reader.
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