The internet is an essential part of life for many Australians. We use it to work, stay in touch, access entertainment, pay the bills and manage our finances. At the same time, more of the things around us are connecting online, including our cars, household appliances and industrial machinery. The benefit this brings is enormous, but it also exposes us to new threats from those who wish to do us harm.
Australia’s 2016 Cyber Security Strategy set out Government’s plan to strengthen our cyber resilience and security. The Strategy, backed by a $230 million investment, built Australia’s cyber security foundations and raised national awareness of online threats. Since 2016, we have opened the Australian Cyber Security Centre within the Australian Signals Directorate to be the single point of cyber expertise for the Australian Government. We have also formed Joint Cyber Security Centres across the country to work more closely with industry, and we have created a 24/7 Global Watch to respond to critical cyber incidents.
The rapid pace of change in cyberspace and the extent of our reliance on the internet means we cannot be complacent. A loss of an essential service like electricity, water or transport has the potential to cripple the economy, cause social unrest and, ultimately, damage our welfare and way of life. There are also many who seek to undermine our strong and enduring institutions. Recent incidents such as compromises of the Australian parliamentary networks, universities and key corporate entities illustrate that the threat continues to be significant. Even smaller scale cyber incidents affecting families and local businesses often lead to financial loss, business interruption, identity theft and psychological stress.
We want to explore with you how Australia can position itself to meet cyber threats, now and into the future. In forming a view, we will need to consider whether responsibilities are appropriately assigned in keeping everyone safe. This will require a thoughtful discussion about how Government, businesses and individuals can share responsibility for cyber security in the future to get the best outcome for everyone.
For the Strategy to be successful, we need to develop and deliver it in partnership with the Australian community. This discussion paper seeks views from all Australians about how to grow Australia’s cyber security and future prosperity. Cyber security affects us all and we are seeking views from small, medium and large businesses, industry bodies, academia, advocacy groups, not for profits, government agencies, community groups and members of the public. We have posed a series of questions you may wish to answer as you offer your thoughts.
By working together, governments, academia, industry and the community can strengthen our nation’s cyber resilience across the economy to ensure we prosper as a nation and protect our interests online.