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by David Braue

New partnerships helping industry, government tap into Australia’s cybersecurity potential

Feb 09, 20183 mins
Application SecurityBackup and RecoveryBusiness Continuity

The growing success of intensive ‘code-a-thon’ events is encouraging increasingly proactive measures of staff development as government agencies, universities and private enterprises look for new ways to encourage collaboration in areas such as analytics and cybersecurity.

Organising cybersecurity and analytics specialists has proven productive for financial regulator AUSTRAC, which is expecting great things from its upcoming ASEAN-Australia Codeathon after a similar event in Malaysia last November that, director of innovation Rajesh Walton told CSO Australia, “completely exceeded our expectations”.

“The tangible outcomes from our coders absolutely took it to a new level,” Walton explained, noting the innovation shown in winning projects such as Blockchain Address Validation, SocialHash, and Network Miner. “From an innovation and originality perspective, we were mind-blown by what they came up with. The thought behind it was quite amazing.”

The follow-up event, which will be held in Sydney from 14 to 16 March, will unite interested financial analysts, coders and others in a 32-hour dash to explore potential applications of Blockchain, AI, analytics and other technologies to improve detection of terrorism financing.

Bringing together so many skilled and innovative developers provided a way for AUSTRAC’s 300-strong team of data specialists to expand their horizons and foster collaborations that might normally never have happened, CISO Leanne Fry said.

“A lot of the drivers for innovation in the fintech sector are very strong,” she explained,” so it was really about how we can start working collaboratively. We leverage their expertise to give us context about the market – and as we do that, we are understanding where, particularly the technology-led stack, is going.”

Such collaborations are designed to surface the groundswell of analytics and cybersecurity talent that is emerging on the back of a university and startup culture that is engaging with innovators more actively than ever.

Hackers Helping Hackers (HHH), a not-for-profit group of volunteers that will this year mentor 14 emerging hackers and aspiring cybersecurity staffers, got a shot in the arm this week with a $15,000 sponsorship commitment from cybersecurity consultancy Hivint.

As well as helping HHH send promising participants to information-security conferences, the program includes a heavy networking aspect and gives Hivint early access to program participants.

“These are some of the best and brightest, and we want the chance to get to them before everyone else,” Hivint co-founder Craig Searle said in a statement. “Despite good intentions, universities struggle to keep up with the rapid advances in hacking technology and tactics, so having HHH help prepare the next generation strengthens the entire industry.”

The creation of new opportunities to engage with the cybersecurity industry is driving new demand at the university level, too. Recent figures from Charles Sturt University (CSU), for one, suggested that the intake for the latest session of its Master in Cyber Security degree – which closes on 16 February – had grown by 270 percent since last year.

This translates into more than four times as many students specialising in cybersecurity this year than last year. “We have not seen this type of surge in IT enrolments since the Dot Com boom in the late 1990s, IT Masters director Martin Hales said in a statement.

“Demand for suitable skilled and certified cyber security operatives is rampant – and we are hearing reports of students winning cyber security appointments while they are still doing their courses.”