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Aussies set aside £760mn to fight cybercrime

The Australian Government has outlined an AUS$1.35 billion (£760 million) programme to combat the rise in cybersecurity threats as remote working remains top of the agenda.

The initiative, which will be known as the Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package, will aim to identify more threats, combat foreign cybercriminals and build stronger relationships with industry. The cash injection will aim to supercharge the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

With COVID-19 forcing most companies through a rapid digital transformation project, cybersecurity was and continues to be a concern. If some of these new virtual working habits are to remain for the long-term, cybersecurity is an area which will have to be addressed assertively.

“The Federal Government’s top priority is protecting our nation’s economy, national security and sovereignty,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “Malicious cyber activity undermines that.

“My Government’s record investment in our nation’s cyber security will help ensure we have the tools and capabilities we need to fight back and keep Australians safe.”

And while these initiatives are often more fluff than anything else, it does appear to be a pretty comprehensive programme, spreading investment in some key areas.

Investment (AUS$) Details
$118 million Expand data science and intelligence capabilities at ASD
$62 million Create a national situational awareness capability
$20 million Establish ASD research labs throughout country
$470 million Expand cyber security workforce

The rest of the investment will be detailed in the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, which does not seem to have a deadline for completion. The public consultation has been completed, workshops have been held, but there seems to be little clarity on when a concrete plan will be put forward unfortunately.

Like many other countries around the world, Australia has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many employees to work from home. Some organisations and employees might still be nervous about this new dynamic, considering the years of underinvestment in cybersecurity and the effectiveness of hackers to find flaws in the system. However, Australia is far from alone here.

With COVID-19 pushing organisations of out of their comfort zone and forcing a new approach to cybersecurity, we suspect this announcement will not be unique before too long. If the world is to embrace mobility, a more proactive approach to cybersecurity will be required. For years, executives and Governments have been preaching the importance of security in the digital economy, but COVID-19 might just force action to accompany the rhetoric.

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