Australia to invest $1,25bn in cyber security

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The Federal Government will invest $1.35 billion over the next decade in the Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre to enhance the cyber security capabilities and assistance provided to Australians.

Known as the Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package, the investment will allow Australia to identify more cyber threats, disrupt more foreign cybercriminals, build more partnerships with industry and government and protect more Australians.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the announcement comes at a time when malicious cyber activity against Australia is increasing in frequency, scale and sophistication.

“The Federal Government’s top priority is protecting our nation’s economy, national security and sovereignty. Malicious cyber activity undermines that,” Mr Morrison said.

“My Government’s record investment in our nation’s cyber security will help ensure we have the tools and capabilities we need to fight back and keep Australians safe.”

The CESAR package includes a $31 million investment to enhance the ability of ASD to disrupt cybercrime offshore, and over $35 million to deliver a new cyber threat-sharing platform, enabling industry and government to share intelligence about malicious cyber activity, and block emerging threats in near real-time.

$12 million will be directed towards new strategic mitigations and active disruption options, enabling ASD and Australia’s major telecommunications providers to prevent malicious cyber activity from ever reaching millions of Australians across the country by blocking known malicious websites and computer viruses at speed.

Over $118 million have been allocated for ASD to expand its data science and intelligence capabilities, with a further $62 million to be directed towards delivering a national situational awareness capability to better enable ASD to understand and respond to cyber threats on a national scale.

$20 million have been set aside for the establishment of cutting-edge research laboratories to better understand threats to emerging technology, ensuring that ASD continues to provide timely and authoritative advice about the most secure approaches for organisations to adopt new technology.

Defence Minister Lynda Reynolds said the package also includes a $470 million investment to expand Australia’s cyber security workforce, with the creation of over 500 new jobs within ASD.

“The package will put our nation on the front foot in combatting cyber threats and our investment in a cyber security workforce will help ensure we have the people we need to meet future cyber challenges,” Senator Reynolds continued.

“For example, this package will enable ASD and Australia’s major telecommunications providers to prevent malicious cyber activity from reaching millions of Australians by blocking known malicious websites and computer viruses at speed.”

“This package is one part of our $15 billion investment in cyber and information warfare capabilities that will form part of Defence’s 2020 Force Structure Plan to address the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape.”

According to the Government’s announcement, the remaining details of the CESAR Package will be detailed in its 2020 Cyber Security Strategy.

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