25 September 2023

ASD signals cybersecurity priorities

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An assessment of cyber security, collaboration with internet companies, a counter cyber-crime campaign and improving the identification and management of cyber security risks have been identified as priorities for the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) for the coming year.

Director of ASD, Mike Burgess (pictured) revealed the plans at a recent ACSC conference in Canberra, saying expectations of the ASD and the ACSC were high, as cyber security had become a global problem.

Mr Burgess pointed to the “wholesale theft of data and disruption to business in recent years”, saying the successful identification and management of cyber security risk across the community, businesses and the Federal and State Governments had become critical.

“The 2017 Independent Intelligence Review recognised the importance of this and, in regard to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, noted it is essential to have a seamless connection between the Centre and the Australian Signals Directorate,” Mr Burgess said.

“The review also noted the Centre should be established as the credible and authoritative voice on cyber security in Australia.”

He said legislative changes meant that from 1 July, the ACSC would become part of the ASD, including staff from the National Computer Emergency Response Team and a smaller contingent of staff from the Digital Transformation Agency.

“The collective potential will certainly increase as a result, but you will also see a change of emphasis and span of engagement,” Mr Burgess said.

“The new legislation introduced two key changes.”

He said the first change was that ASD’s advice and proactive assistance remit on cyber security would be expanded to include the community, business and Governments; and second, there would be a new function to combat cyber-enabled crime.

“The new function to combat cyber-enabled crime is also important,” Mr Burgess said.

“In this regard, cyber-enabled crime will include: pure play cyber-crime — that is, hacking for criminal purpose — and cyber-enabled serious crime.”

He said his key priorities for the next 12 months included the national assessment of Australian cyber security, with an initial focus on critical infrastructure; collaboration with major internet service providers and critical infrastructure providers to drive out known problems; and executing a counter cyber-crime campaign.

Mr Burgess said outreach and influence would also be important to improve the identification and management of the cyber security risk across the community, business and Government.

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