The government recently announced a $1.35 billion investment over the next decade to enhance the nation’s cyber security and increase its resilience to future attacks.
This financial boost represents the nation’s largest ever investment in cyber security and will be delivered through the Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
The investment announcement follows a co-ordinated state-based attack in June, which targeted Australian Government agencies and businesses across a range of sectors; including all levels of government, political organisations, industry, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure. The attacker managed to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in Telerik UI and services such as Sharepoint, Microsoft Internet Information Services and Citrix and used traditional spear-phishing methods to try to extract login information from employees inside an organisation.
The government reassured businesses and citizens that they had not made the announcement in response to any successful attack or large personal data breach, but to demonstrate their ongoing proactive efforts towards securing cyber resilience and also as a reminder of a necessity for robust cybersecurity, training and capability.
Then the 2020 Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan were released, which state that heavy investments will be made towards sharing information reliably and securely across Defence, other Government agencies and with international partners.
In particular, Australia is converging its electronic warfare and cyber capabilities in land, sea, air, cyber and space – a trend which is reflected in the recent Cyber and Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA) doctrine and the scope of the School of Information Operations (SOIO).
SOIO is a collaborative venture between Leonardo and Australian company DEWC T&E, an organisation staffed entirely by former military electronic warfare and cyber practitioners that delivers electronic warfare services to the ADF and allies. The training school is seen as a key cyber and electronic warfare capacity building by the Australia Government and it was officially opened in February 2020.
The SOIO partnership is also collaborating with CyberOps, which is a lead cyber SME in Adelaide. CyberOps has been instrumental in developing the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre (A3C) cyber range which launched on 6 July.