Cyber gets a big eSafety boost

James Riley
Editorial Director

The eSafety commissioner will move into terror prevention and Australia will add a Cyber Ambassador to its diplomatic ranks, while establishing a ring of joint cyber threat centres across the country among a range of cyber security measures announced or confirmed in the 2016 Budget.

The Attorney General announced the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner would score an additional $1 million in funding to expand digital programs that would include helping young people and their families avoid harm from violent extremism promoted online.

The other cyber security moves flow from the $230 million Cyber Security Strategy which was announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in April and were confirmed in the Federal Budget.

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The new Cyber Ambassador will travel on the tab of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which will fund the position to the tune of $2.7 million over four years.

The Cyber Ambassador’s job will be to promote Australia’s internet governance and cyber security agenda worldwide. His or her task will be helped along in the Indo-Pacific region with a $4 million cyber cooperation program also under the auspices of DFAT.

Meanwhile, back at home, the Turnbull Government will spend up $82.3 million over four years on a chain of Joint Cyber Threat Centres believed to be inspired by an existing US program involving the Secret Service, FBI and regional police.

The US electronic crime task force program was ordered into action under the auspices of the Secret Service after 9/11 and President George W Bush’s subsequent Patriot Act.

The program investigates and protects against cyber crime that would cause large scale financial loss or cause harm to critical infrastructure. There are 24 ECTFs throughout the US and thousands of law enforcement and private sector partners available to assist.

The Federal government is also stumping up $47.3 million for an online threat sharing portal.

The joint threat centres are in addition to the Department of Defence’s more centralised Australian Cyber Security Centre which scores $38.8 million over four years to relocate to a ‘more flexible facility for public-private engagement’.

The Turnbull Government also wants fresh troops to fight cyber threats and is putting up $3.5 million over four years to create up to six for the Department of Education and Training (DET) to establish up to six academic centres of cyber security excellence.

There’s $1.3 million for cyber security assessments for Commonwealth entities and $11 million to unearth cyber vulnerabilities in federal government systems.

CERT scores $21.5 million in funding and the Australian Federal Police ($20.4 million) and Australian Crime Commission ($16 million) get money to boost their cyber crime fighting abilities.

Other measures include grants for small business to conduct threat assessments, a new cyber security awareness campaign and cyber security health checks for ASX100-listed companies.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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