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Cyber threats are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated with each passing day. It’s important to have knowledge and awareness of the not only the nature of these threats but also how to defend yourself against them. Australia is also not immune to these threats but fortunately, the government has stepped in to provide laws and security centres to take measures against them.

Why cybersecurity is important?

Cybersecurity is fundamental in navigating digital space. It is paramount to learn about data protection and privacy and how to implement cybersecurity measures to safeguard against threats. Here are few reasons that highlight importance of cybersecurity:

  • Protection of sensitive data
  • Preserving privacy of individuals
  • Protecting intellectual property
  • Safeguarding infrastructure
  • Improving defences

Types of Cyber Threats:

Cyber threats can take on many forms. Some examples of these threats are

  THREAT DESCRIPTION
1.        Malware Malicious software such as viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware that is intended to harm or exploit computer systems.
2.        Phishing Cybercriminals use emails, texts, or fraudulent websites to trick people into giving them personal information in a social engineering attack.
3.        Data Breach Unauthorised access to delicate or private data, such as finances, trademarks, or personal data.
4.        IoT Vulnerabilities Internet of Things (IoT) devices include security flaws that might enable for illicit access, information theft, or device manipulation.
5.        Supply Chain Attacks Exploiting suppliers’ or service providers’ encryption as a backdoor to get unlawful access to the target companies.
6.        Software Exploits Violations aimed at taking benefit of unpatched or novel software vulnerabilities to launch attacks or acquire unauthorised access.

Role of Australian Government:

To improve navigation of the digital landscape, Australian Government has taken various measures to ensure a better user experience. This reaches out from reforming the infrastructure in accordance with cybersecurity laws to tackling individually reported cases. Below are a few initiatives from the Australian Government to address the growing challenges of cyber threats.

Australian Government and Cybersecurity

Initiatives:

A few initiatives from the Australian Government for protecting the cyberspace includes establishment of research and security centres along with re-vamping the infrastructure with laws and acts to better suit user safety.

Data Protection Laws:

Australian Government introduced the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme which aimed to improve transparency with affected individuals by making it a requirement to notify affected individuals and the OAIC (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner) if a data breach event occurs. This also increases the incentive to abide to cybersecurity laws and also hold accountability.

National Cyber Security Strategy:

In order to initiate change, the infrastructure within the IT space needed remodelling. For that National Cyber Security Strategy was established which basically serves as an outline for strength and resilience of Australian Government against cyber-attacks. The key focus was cybersecurity partnerships, global cyber space accountability, growth and innovation, cyber-smart nation and handling and defending against cyber threats.

Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC):

The government needed a central hub for collecting and sharing information and establishing preventive measures against cyber threats. This is exactly why Australian Cyber Security Centre or ACSC was established. It served to provide support to individuals and companies while leading charge towards cybersecurity in Australia.

Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSCs):

To expand its approach and provide accessibility, Australian Government established Joint Cyber Security Centre or JCSCs. They are centres in multiple locations all across the country that aid all with drawing support from the government, academia, private sectors and law enforcement agencies to not only help in issue resolution but also share intelligence and coordinate responses. This also helps in establishing new and improved guidelines and standards.

Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC):

A collaborative effort to tackle cybersecurity challenges and provide actionable solutions, CSCRC was established. Industry, academia and the government contributed towards this research to address cyber threats.

Infrastructure Protection:

Important units of an Australian infrastructure like Healthcare, energy, transportation etc. are one of the top priorities for providing cybersecurity. These sensitive sectors are vulnerable to threats due to the massive impact it may have on the population so Australian Government has collaborated with them to enhance and strengthen their defences.

Public Awareness and Education:

The Australian Government participates in frequent campaigns and educational efforts about cybersecurity risks and practices that will help businesses and individuals in identifying an attack early on and the way to not only deal with it but report it effectively.

Key Australian Laws for Cybersecurity:

  LAW DESCRIPTION
1.        Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 Grants power to law and intelligence agencies to access encrypted communications in certain conditions.
2.        My Health Records Act 2012 Covers security and privacy safeguards for health data and relates to the development and administration of the My Health Record system.
3.        Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 Regulates the export and transfer of defence and strategic commodities and technology, including some items linked to cybersecurity.
4.        ASIC Market Integrity Rules (Securities Markets) 2017 A set of regulations released by ASIC to safeguard the integrity of the securities market, including safeguards against hacker attacks and unlawful access to market infrastructure.
5.        Surveillance Devices Act 2004 Oversees the use of tracking and surveillance equipment, including computer-based tools.
6.        Privacy Act 1988 Controls how corporations and governmental organisations collect, utilise, and disclose personal information. Consists of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) program.
7.        E-Security Support Legislation Amendment Act 2009 Gives the Australian government’s e-security programs a legal foundation.
8.        Data Availability and Transparency Act 2020 Aims to increase data sharing between government agencies so that provision of services can be improved while protecting data and maintaining cybersecurity.
9.        Cyber Security Strategy 2020 Outlines the aims and measures taken by the Australian government to address cyber risks as well as its strategy to cybersecurity.