NSW unveils delayed police cyber security centre

An around-the-clock cyber security operation centre dedicated to protecting NSW Police systems and the data within them has been launched by the state government, more than nine months after it came online.

Heralded as an “Australian-first”, the centre was announced on Monday as part of a $25.3 million cyber security transformation that first got underway in December 2020.

The centre had initially been promised for May of last year, but InnovationAus.com understands COVID-19 and the staff shortages that followed delayed its arrival.

Cyber security operations centre to safeguard NSW Police systems

Funded through the $2.1 billion Digital Restart Fund, the centre is expected to help NSW Police evolve its cyber security capabilities from ‘reactive defence’ to ‘active defence’.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre regards active defence as the “principle of proactively implementing a spectrum of security measures to strengthen a network or system”.

A team of 15 analysts and engineers have been tasked with operating the centre seven days a week, though it is not clear how many had been secured at the time of the announcement.

NSW Police is currently recruiting seven positions for a “new venture”: one cyber security operations team leader; two cyber security product owners to look after device, system and user security; and four senior cyber security analysts.

In a statement, Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said the centre would strengthen the force’s cyber security defences by identifying and blocking threats in real-time.

“[NSW Police] holds a significant amount of sensitive data relating to local, national and international criminal investigations, and we know there are criminals who want to get their hands on this,” he said.

“Analysts in the CSOC Command respond to and prevent threats of disruption to the police network every day.

“These threats often come from organised crime networks or cyber criminals – and our investment in this Australian-first operations centre is about ensuring our analysts are equipped to stop them in their tracks.

“By protecting police systems, we are fundamentally protecting the people of NSW by allowing the Force to function securely and effectively, and ensure criminal investigations proceed unthwarted.”

NSW Police is one of several government agencies to benefit from the $315 million set aside for cyber security uplift programs in the Digital Restart Fund since June 2020.

Other agencies to receive funding include the Department of Communities and Justice, Service NSW, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, the Department of Education, and Treasury.

After three consecutive years of investment in the Digital Restart Fund, the government provide no new funding to the Digital Restart Fund in this year’s budget.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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