Australia’s federal government is about to the brief political parties next month on cybersecurity threats. This move is triggered by worries that the country’s electoral process could be targeted by foreign attackers.
According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australia should be absolutely sure that its critical infrastructure is not susceptible to cyberattacks. In fact, every country should do the same.
According to ABC’s video report, Turnbull explained that:
This is the new frontier of warfare. It’s the new frontier of espionage. It’s the new frontier of many threats to Australian families, to governments to businesses.
Turnbull expressed his concerns regarding U.S intelligence community’s belief that Russia framed a campaign meant to disrupt the recent presidential election:
It’s acknowledged there was Russian interference both in terms of hacking and in terms of seeking to influence the election through so-called fake news. Threats like this – from wherever they come – are of great concern to our nation, to our government, to me as prime minister.
Australia Is a Frequent Target of Cyber Attacks
In 2015, two computers at the Bureau of Meteorology were affected and officials suspected that China was behind the intrusion. The Australian Signals Directorate was able to find a remote access tool installed alongside password dumping tools. The organization later established that all passwords on the network were compromised, and important documents were also copied.
Another hack case concerns NewSat, an Australian satellite company that was attacked by China-based hackers for possibly two consequent years. To counter the attacks, the company had to rebuild its entire network while keeping the whole process secret.
In April 2016, the Australian government launched an extensive cybersecurity strategy to raise awareness and improve defenses across governmental and private organizations, which was announced by the Prime Minister in April 2016. Here’s what the Minister said:
This Cyber Security Strategy sets out my Government’s philosophy and program for meeting the dual challenges of the digital age—advancing and protecting our interests online.
This new structure will ensure cyber security is given the attention it demands in an age where cyber opportunities and threats must be considered together and must be addressed proactively, not simply as a reaction to the inevitability of future cyber events. This Strategy will develop partnerships between the Australian public and private sectors, support home-grown cyber security capabilities and promote international cyber cooperation. We will change and adapt when needed to stay competitive and influential in the constantly changing technology landscape.