Turnbull warns of growing cyber aggression


This article is by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra. It originally appeared on The Conversation.

news Australian public and private sector organisations and individuals are facing malicious cyber activity that is unprecedented in scale and reach, Malcolm Turnbull warns in the government’s new cyber security strategy, launched on Thursday.

“Australia and Australians are targets for malicious actors – including serious and organised criminal syndicates and foreign adversaries – who are all using cyber space to further their aims and attack our interests,” Turnbull writes in a foreword to the policy. “The rate of compromise is increasing and the methods used by malicious actors are rapidly evolving.”

Turnbull says that as the Snowden disclosures show, often the most damaging risk to government or business online security comes from the ability of a trusted insider to cause massive disruption or use access to obtain and disclose classified material.

Businesses and governments must better educate and empower employees to use sound practices online, he writes.

Tying the strategy to his economic plan, he says Australia is well placed to be a leader in cyber security, thus “helping the transition to a new and more diverse economy which is fuelled by innovation, the opening of new markets and more investment in Australian enterprise”.

The government will invest more than A$230 million over four years to boost Australia’s cyber security capability.

The policy says that while figures vary, cybercrime is estimated to cost Australians more than $1 billion annually.

Initiatives in the policy include the planned appointment of a minister assisting the prime minister on cyber security to lead the government’s work with business leaders, and annual meetings between the prime minister and business figures to set and drive the cyber security agenda.

“Cyber security needs to be driven from the top. Economic and national security imperatives mean that cyber security is a strategic issue for leaders – ministers, senior executives and boards – not just for ICT and security staff,” the policy says.

A cyber ambassador will be appointed to spearhead Australia’s international effort.

One problem the policy identifies is a shortage of cyber security professionals in the workforce. The government says it will tackle this “at all levels of Australia’s education system”, in the quest for “a cyber smart nation”.

“Demand in Australia for cyber security services and related jobs – such as legal services, insurance and risk management – will grow by at least 21% over the next five years,” the policy says.

“However, the public and private sectors cannot fill their cyber security vacancies. The situation appears to be worsening – the take-up of ICT-related university degrees (often a precursor for cyber security professionals) has halved over the last decade and graduation rates have dropped.”

Potential explanations include the type and number of courses currently available and insufficient student awareness of job opportunities, the policy says.

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Image credit: Office of Christopher Pyne


  1. People are obviously going to be aggressive when Malcolm tries to implement rubbish policies like FTTN.

    • +1 Malcolm’s destruction of the Real NBN has made me very aggressive towards LibTards like him!

    • Malcolm isn’t hairy chested enough to pull off “Stop the Boats!”, so he’s going for “Stop the Bytes!”.

      Expect a lot of “We’ll decide what data comes here!” type rehashed talking points.

      This is the Liberal Party of Australia being “innovative”.

  2. I would have thought the most damaging risk to government is performing the acts of violating the public’s’ trust in the first place.. not the fact that someone at sometime decides to expose it.

  3. I wonder when they will have the “tenders” go out for this work and if it will go to the companies currently hiring huge cyber security teams. They wouldn’t have already come to some deal with some companies even before they announce the the policy. I guess these companies setting up huge cyber security centers right now is just a coincidence.

  4. “Snowden disclosures show”

    What sort of muppet is Turnbull, it’s not Snowden alone that was intercepting calls and emails, tracking mobile phones etc. He didn’t write the fucking programs. We should be more worried about the so called “powers” that be i.e. FBI, NSA etc. listening into our calls and reading our emails not some script kiddy in China trying to hack a fucking McDonalds outlet.

    Wake up Turnbull you fucking moron.

    • If all they learn from Snowden showing their lies and hypocrisy is that then they’re flat-out idiots. And they have total disdain for whistle-blowers which is what he is. Worse still is that Snowden showed that the Australian Government is one of the bad faith actors in this sector and is an active participant in the “Five Eyes” program. Our intelligence agencies are using illegal and unethical means to spy on us and all he’s done is grant them even more power.
      It’s a very dangerous farce and the path they’re treading leads nowhere good for most of us, the corruption now starts at the top and controls the system.

  5. George Brandis: Can I be the Cyber Minister? I am an expert on metadata.
    Malcolm Turnbull: Well, what is a Cyber Minister to you George?
    George Brandis: Your honour, the Cyber Minister was a play by George Bernard Shaw. I will find it in my bookcase.
    Malcolm Turnbull [under breath]: why, oh why am I the Captain of this Ship of Fools?

  6. Cyber aggression, like this so called “Delimiter” web site!! :D
    Ban it! Ban them all! Where’s my damn marbles.

  7. A. “… the most damaging risk to government or business online security comes from the ability of a trusted insider to cause massive disruption …”

    B. “… must better educate and empower employees to use sound practices online …”

    C. “Cyber security needs to be driven from the top. …”

    Erm, how does B and/or C mitigate A exactly?

    Actually, don’t bother. My good friend Lavrentiy Beria has explained security to me. I need only sacrifice 3 top people a year to keep the others honest. He says C drives B which eliminates A. I can live with that.

  8. Your data is safe with fiber cable. It doesn’t radiate signals and is extremely difficult to tap. If the cable is tapped, it’s very easy to monitor because the cable leaks light, causing the entire system to fail. If an attempt is made to break the physical security of your fiber system, you’ll know it. Fiber networks also enable you to put all your electronics and hardware in one central location, instead of having wiring closets with equipment throughout the building.

    Malcom your policy is a failure!

  9. I remember when they first set up the SecOps centre and I asked about weekend coverage – weekend coverage???? Business Hours only.

    Could you imagine the laughter in the PLA about now? This would have been a hoot in China.

    Oh yes, forgot to say. Derp…..derp…..cyber…..

  10. “Australia is well placed to be a leader in cyber security” ROFL, all that tech knowledge;-)

    ABS recently reported Australians lost $2b to credit card fraudsters in 2015, double the $1b lost in 2010-11. Attributing the increase vulnerability to the “rapid expansion and availability of internet technology” and the increase in electronic storage, transmission and sharing of information.

    Obviously NBNCo is doing its best to limit the damage with their snail paced rollout. Hmm $-2b, about the “profit” expected by NBNCo in FY15-16 (add to the $6b burnt before it).

    What does AUD2b (CHF1.7b) a year of commercial money buys in another market?

    «En 2015, Swisscom a investi environ 1,4 milliard de francs dans la modernisation et le développement de l’infrastructure de réseau en Suisse. L’accent a tout particulièrement été mis sur l’aménagement à large échelle du réseau à très haut débit (> 50 Mbit/s), où différentes technologies de fibre optique ont été utilisées (Fibre to the Home FTTH, Fibre to the Building FTTB, Fibre to the Street FTTS, Fibre to the Curb FTTC). Fin 2015, 2,9 millions de logements et de commerces étaient raccordés au très haut débit; d’ici 2020, ce sera le cas de 85 % des logements et des commerces dans toutes les communes de Suisse.»

    Swisscom completed its fast FTTN (<750m copper) upgrade with 91% (4m) coverage in 2013. They then began their Ultra-fast FTTS (<200m copper) upgrade. By the end of 2015 2.9m premises had been upgraded, on target for 85% coverage (4.6m) by 2020.

    Swisscom was profitable every year of the transition despite strong data infrastructure competition (power & cable).

    Several years ago Amaury de Gromard, Head of Technical Management, Swisscom clearly identified the challenge: "We regard FTTH as the technology for the future, however, it is a generational project; it is hardly possible to cover the whole of Switzerland with it over the next ten years. That's why we still have fiber to the cabinet (FTTC), which can be rolled out much easier."

    Obviously never meet our "genius" Conroy.

  11. No kidding and by their self preserving spying laws is only just making things worse and handing out data on a plate to cyber criminals.

    Telstra is a massive security problem and so is this government. Cyber crime is bigger than terrorism and it affects everyone yet they treat it as a joke.

    Saying that, letting the NSA the biggest cyber criminals on the planet to use packet capture reflection on the pipe out of Perth for instance in acts of economic espionage, is therefore treason. Same with letting pine gap spy on out satellite pipes.

    Same with releasing FinSpy malware trojans on the population and by being clients of the Italian cyber criminal network, remember that ?

    They are cyber criminals too therefore encourage cyber crime.

  12. In the 3 years they’ve been in charge how many businesses have been attacked with ransomware and their systems hacked ?

    The chinese have hacked into the government networks under their books, remember the malware attack on the BOM to get escalated access no doubt.

    They couldn’t give a damn they were too busy chasing phantoms to preserve themselves.

    They are an absolute faulty joke.

  13. Telstra’s PacNet which ran military and government stuff was compromised. IINEt and Telstra customer databases hacked. Anything else ? They are economic vandals plain and simple.

  14. Good Security is a money sink. Simple as that. As long as that is the case, and as long as the Government focuses itself on lowest price rather than best quality, they will continue to be hacked.

    • Therein lies the problem just like carbon pollution unless there is price to be paid for failure, poor security will be cheaper than good security.

      • Yep, and poor security is a misnomer. It is worse than no security.

        Poor security makes people feel secure, when they are not.

  15. Turnbull says that as the Snowden disclosures show, often the most damaging risk to government or business online security comes from the ability of a trusted insider to cause massive disruption or use access to obtain and disclose classified material.

    Yes indeed Malcolm, Snowden should just shut up about the massive scale illegal abuse of government power, should he…

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