Bold new powers to fight hackers
A new agency to lead Australia’s response to major cyber attacks by state-sponsored hackers is set to be announced by the federal government.
The National Office for Cyber Security will be established within the Department of Home Affairs to better prepare how the nation responds to attacks such as the Medibank and Optus hacks last year.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will announce the new office when he convenes a roundtable in Sydney of business and cyber security experts.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said there was a clear case for change.
“Australia has a patchwork of policies, laws and frameworks that are not keeping up with the challenges presented by the digital age,” she said ahead of the meeting.
“Voluntary measures and poorly executed plans will not get Australia where we need to be to thrive in the contested environment of 2030.”
A yet to be announced official will be appointed to lead the agency and develop the whole-of-government response to a major cyber incident.
The co-ordinator for cyber security will also be tasked with triaging of action in response to a major cyber incident.
The head of the government’s expert advisory board, former Telstra chief executive Andy Penn, said national resilience depended on getting the cyber settings right.
“If we are to lift and sustain cyber resilience and security, it must be an integrated whole-of-nation endeavour,” he said in a statement.
“Any successful strategy must be national in scope, enduring, affordable, achievable, and allow for flexibility to account for changes in the dynamic cyber environment out to 2030.”
A discussion paper canvassing how Australians can be better shield from cyber attacks is reported to have been handed back to the government ahead of the roundtable.
Ms O’Neil said she wants federal laws to be “fit for purpose for the threat landscape.
“We need the unified effort of government, industry and the community,” she said.
“Together, we can equip our community to reduce the number and impact of cyber incidents through improved cyber hygiene and provide clear advice on how to respond confidently when they occur.”
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