Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has warned Australia is facing “the most dangerous set of strategic circumstances” since World War Two, as she announced a program to develop a new cyber security strategy.
The Cyber Security Minister told the National Press Club that previously security was not really affected until Australia actively joined a conflict, but now “new tools of statecraft” were bringing global security challenges into the everyday lives of citizens.
“It’s felt in our economy where we are waking from a cyber slumber, it is felt in our private lives where our identities are under threat and personal information is at risk, it is felt in business and research where Australia’s hard-won innovations are at constant risk of theft,” she said on Thursday.
“It is felt in our democracy where foreign actors are trying to influence decisions in our parliaments and universities, subjecting Australians to online misinformation and disinformation campaigns which spread like viruses around our communities.
“So when you put all of this together, it’s simple but it’s stark.
“Our government’s view is that Australia faces the most dangerous set of strategic circumstances since the Second World War and those circumstances are having a real impact on Australians even when they are at home.”
Ms O’Neil said former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to abolish the cyber security ministry when he came to office was an “absolute shocker”.
She vowed the Albanese government would “punch back at the hackers” through a collaboration between The Australian Federal Police and The Australian Signals Directorate.
“This will be a 100-person team firmly focused on hunting down people who would seek to do us harm and hacking back,” she said.
“It will take some time to get this singing, but when it does, it will change the game for cyber security.”
Ms O’Neil said her plan was to make Australia the most cyber secure country in the world by 2030.
“I am announcing a major program of work to develop a new cyber security strategy for Australia,” she said.
“The cyber security strategy will help Australia bring the whole nation into the fight to protect our citizens and to protect our economy.
“It will help us strengthen critical infrastructure and government networks, it will help us build sovereign capabilities in cyber security because this is something Australia must be able to do for itself.
“It will help us strengthen our international engagement, so Australia can play a leadership role on the global stage, and work in partnership with our Pacific neighbours to handle cyber security across our region.”
Story Credit: news.com.au