People key as updated Australian cyber strategy targets ‘existential threats’

In the era of COVID-19 work-at-home, fostering individual responsibility over security is as important as government capabilities and industry collaboration.

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Whereas the Australian government’s previous Cyber Security Strategy 2016 was primarily focused on crystallising the domestic industry, the newly released 2020 edition is pivoting towards “some of the big existential threats to Australian society”, a senior public servant has noted as updated figures confirm Australian businesses are continuing to suffer data breaches as regularly as always.

Released after months of consultation with industry and other stakeholders, the new Cyber Security Strategy 2020 draws on 215 submissions—156 of which are publicly available online—outlining a broad range of perspectives around the issues raised in a previous discussion paper.

The ongoing cyber security threat to Australia—outlined by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in an impromptu press conference in June—“is broad, ranging across multiple levels of the Australian economy, at the individual and up to the critical infrastructure level,” Hamish Hansford, first assistant secretary within the Department of Home Affairs’ Cyber, Digital and Technology Policy division, told a recent webinar audience.

The new cyber security strategy in detail

The new strategy is a “crisp articulation of the threat posed by cyber security, and of the challenges that governments and individuals face in looking at these challenges,” Hansford said, noting that it “will take all of us to have a focus on cyber security from different levels, to make this cyber security strategy actually make a difference.”

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