Australia Plans Cybersecurity Reform Following Major Breaches
On February 27th, Australian government officials conducted a “Cyber Security Roundtable” meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in a bid to counter the growing threat of cyberattacks. Within the meeting, the continued development of a new “National Cyber Security Strategy” was discussed.
In his opening remarks, PM Albanese stated, "Cyber security is national security, it is business security, but it is also personal security for 25 million Australians”.
Highlighting the “rapidly evolving threat” of cyberattacks, the Australian Prime Minister spoke with leaders in the public service and intelligence agencies, as well as independent experts. The goal was to build a cybersecurity strategy that could be scaled for “every level of Government, for every branch of the public service, for every agency and institution, for business, large and small, and for people.”
The meeting resulted from the alarming rise in major cyberattacks across Australia last year, which included telecom giant Optus and health insurance company Medibank Private Ltd. According to the Guardian, around one-third of “Australians had their information held to ransom in the Optus data breach”.The Medibank hack was even more severe, as the 200 GB of breached data included sensitive medical records.
Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil, has been spearheading this reform in the country’s cybersecurity laws since December 2022 with the “2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy”. O’Neil said that Australian citizens have suffered “two of the worst data breaches in our nation’s history” and “we must work together to counter these threats, build partnerships and set ourselves up for success.”
O’Neil has announced an “Expert Advisory Board”, to be chaired by “three Expert Leads with extensive industry and government experience”. As a part of the future-proof cybersecurity strategy for Australia, the Federal Government will also appoint a “Coordinator for Cyber Security”, who will work within the Department of Home Affairs.