Australia’s cyber security sector has received a major boost with the Federal Government announcing the nation’s largest investment in cyber security to date, with $1.35 billion in funding over the next ten years to enhance cyber security capabilities and provide assistance to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

The new Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package will help identify more cyber threats, disrupt more foreign cybercriminals, and build partnerships with industry and government.

The investment follows a number of sophisticated state-based cyber attacks on Australian government, business and political organisations in early June.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said malicious cyber activity against Australia is increasing in frequency, scale and sophistication.

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

“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.”

The Government said the CESAR package will boost protection and cyber resilience for all Australians, from individuals and small businesses through to the providers of critical services. Some of the ways the package will enhance security include:

  • Over $31 million to enhance the ability of ASD to disrupt cybercrime offshore
  • Over $35 million to deliver a new cyber threat-sharing platform which will enable intelligence about cyber threats to be shared and help block emerging threats
  • Over $12 million towards new strategic mitigations and active disruption options, including enabling ASD and Australia’s major telecommunications providers to prevent threats by blocking known malicious websites and computer viruses quickly
  • Over $118 million for ASD to expand its data science and intelligence capabilities
  • Over $62 million to deliver a national situational awareness capability to better enable ASD to understand and respond to cyber threats on a national scale
  • Over $20 million to establish research laboratories to better understand threats to emerging technology

To assist in the delivery of these initiatives the program also includes $470 million in funding to help expand the ASD’s cyber security workforce with the creation of over 500 new jobs. 

The Minister for Defence, Senator Reynolds, said that the investment will make sure Australia is ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting Australians and facing cyber challenges.

“The package will put our nation on the front foot in combating cyber threats and our investment in a cyber security workforce will help ensure we have the people we need to meet future cyber challenges,” Mr Reynolds said.

“For example, this package will enable ASD and Australia’s major telecommunications providers to prevent malicious cyber activity from reaching millions of Australians by blocking known malicious websites and computer viruses at speed.

“This package is one part of our $15 billion investment in cyber and information warfare capabilities that will form part of Defence’s 2020 Force Structure Plan to address the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape.”

The Federal Government said that further details of the CESAR Package will be detailed in its upcoming 2020 Cyber Security Strategy. 

Interested in learning more about how your organisation can guard itself against cyber security threats? Click here to download the Report on Cyber Threats to Operational Technologies in the Energy Sector.

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