New $89 million cybercrime centre to be based in NSW

Brandon How

To tackle the growing threat of cybercrime, the federal government has committed $89 million to a new Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre, to be led by the Australian Federal Police.

Also known as JPC3, the centre will be based at the Australian Federal Police’ NSW Headquarters and receive its funding through the $1.67 billion Cyber Security Strategy. The government says the centre will facilitate collaboration across jurisdictions as well as between the public and private sectors.

Minister of Home Affairs Karen Andrews announcing JPC3. Source: Twitter

The launch of the centre also marks the release of the National Plan to Combat Cybercrime after it was endorsed by Commonwealth, state, and territory police ministers last Friday.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrew said the new facilities would consolidate the resources needed to address cybercrime.

“During the pandemic, cybercrime became one of the fastest growing and most prolific forms of crime committed against Australians. The tools and the techniques used to rob or extort Australians became more effective and more freely available than ever before,” Minister Andrews said.

“This is why the Morrison Government is taking strong, decisive action to safeguard Australians, their data, and our shared digital future. Our National Plan will support industries to grow online, build wider confidence in the digital economy, ensure safer online spaces for children, and better support law enforcement to bring to justice those who would break our laws.

“I’m serious about enforcing the law and protecting Australia’s digital future, which is why the Plan is backed up by the resources, intelligence, and capabilities of a new AFP-led cybercrime centre. Using far-reaching Commonwealth legislation and high-end technical capabilities, the AFP’s new cybercrime centre will aggressively target cyber threats, shut them down, and bring offenders to justice.”

The national plan is based on three pillars: ‘prevent and protect’, ‘investigate, disrupt, and prosecute’, and ‘recover’. Further, a National Cybercrime Forum chaired by the Department of Home Affairs will be established to produce a Cybercrime Action Plan along the three pillars. The forum will draw on the experience of several justice departments, law enforcement agencies, and regulators.

In support of the plan, a $30.9 million Cybercrime Capability Fund was also established last Friday and will be delivered over three years. The first $10.3 million will support 12 projects ranging between specialist training activities, software procurement and technical capability development, operational collaboration on cybercrime, and enhanced victim support.

Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 was released last August and will be in place until 2030.

According to a report by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the number of reported data breaches increased in the second half of 2021, although they fell altogether on 2020 levels.

On February 14, a report published by the cybersecurity authorities of the US, UK, and Australia jointly released a warning against the increasing threat of ransomware attacks. In the report they advised organisations to take immediate precautions.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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