Industry praise for new cyber security centre

The Australian arm of global tech giant Huawei has welcomed the establishment of an Australian Cyber Security Centre, announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard earlier today.


Gillard, who outlined the federal government’s national security strategy yesterday, said an Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASCS) will be established in Canberra to boost the country’s ability to protect against cyber attacks.


Utilising the skills of the best cyber security experts in Australia, Gillard said the ACSC will “help ensure Australian networks are among the hardest to compromise in the world”.


In 2012, 5.4 million Australians fell victim to cyber crime, with an estimated cost to the economy of $1.65 billion.


Gillard said the ACSC will be responsible for analysing the nature and extent of cyber threats, leading the government’s response to cyber incidents.


“It will work closely with critical infrastructure sectors and key industry partners to protect our nation’s most valuable networks and systems,” she said.


“The centre will also provide advice and support to develop preventative strategies to counter cyber threats.”


The announcement comes after internet security company AVG identified five digital threats facing businesses and consumers in 2013.


“Our lives are becoming more closely intertwined with online services and so the potential rewards for cybercriminals in that area grow too,” said Michael McKinnon, security advisor at AVG Technologies Australia.


“I expect to see more attacks on the cloud services that businesses and consumers rely on day-to-day, both to cause disruption and to steal personal and financial data.”


Establishment of the ACSC will begin immediately and is expected to be fully operational by late 2013.


It comes as part of a wider move to strengthen Australia’s cyber capabilities, including $1.46 billion out to 2020 to strengthen sensitive networks, and establishing the office of a cyber policy coordinator within Gillard’s own department.


Huawei Australia has welcomed the announcement of the ACSC, but chairman John Lord said the task of combating cyber threats cannot be left to government alone.


“Huawei is encouraged by the government’s vision to bolster Australia’s cyber security defences,” Lord said in a statement.


“[However,] collaboration is the key to success, and major global technology companies like Huawei must be part of the solution to cyber threats.


“Huawei stands ready and willing to work with industry and government to make this vision a reality.”


During a recent speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, Lord called for the creation of a national cyber security evaluation centre.


This centre would test the security credentials of technologies being implemented into critical infrastructure projects.


It would allow for a collaborative approach to cyber security between industry and government, resulting in the best possible network technologies, with robust security assurance for government, operators and end-users alike.


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