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Planning for Cyber Threats

Thursday, 08 Dec 2016


Our online environment is changing fast.

“Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.” So wrote Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu in his classic, The Art of War.

I was recently in China, in a region where Sun Tzu lived around 500 BC. Despite the time difference, Sun Tzu’s insights are highly applicable to modern warfare, which experts predict will increasingly be fought in cyberspace, using technology to block communications and cripple infrastructure.

The importance of cybersecurity precautions cannot be overstated, which is why the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has release its new guide: Cybersecurity: Threats, Challenges, Opportunities. It seeks to raise awareness and educate on the risks of cyber threats, which can affect everyone from an individual with a smartphone to business and enterprise, and even our entire nation.

At the Australia-US Cyber Security Dialogue in September, Prime Minister Turnbull said, "For each large enterprise, there are many small businesses putting a toe in the water of the online world. They are connected to you as suppliers, distributors and contractors. Many are far less secure, far less savvy, far less resourced than governments and big business. Or at least, than governments and big businesses should be.”

The ACS has long played an active role in raising awareness of cyberthreats, supporting the Government with expert advice back in 2011 and providing a coordinating role for an industry response. At the time, we used this column to challenge the Government to: “establish a central authority to coordinate both the policy development and operational aspects of Australia’s cybersecurity framework to ensure an integrated and congruent approach to any cyber-related initiatives.”

That call was answered with the formation in 2013 of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), an umbrella body which brings together the cybersecurity activities of the key security-related agencies: the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

We also welcome the recent appointment of Dr Tobias Feakin as Australia's inaugural Ambassador for Cyber Affairs to work closely with Dan Tehan, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security and Alastair MacGibbon, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security, in providing leadership and advocacy on cybersecurity policy and strategy.

Click HERE to read the full article.