Australia Unveils $587 Million Cyber Security Strategy After Industry Consultation

The Australian federal government is set to launch a $587 million cyber security strategy after a year-long consultation with industry leaders. This strategy, detailed following discussions with various industry heavyweights, encompasses an “action plan” intended to complement existing initiatives with a designated funding of $2.3 billion until 2030, as reported by several news outlets.

The significant allocation within the $587 million funding is $290.8 million, primarily aimed at bolstering support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). This includes initiatives focusing on public awareness, combating cybercrime, disrupting the ransomware business model, and fortifying identity security. Another substantial portion, $143.6 million, will be directed towards fortifying critical infrastructure and enhancing government cyber security.

Under this strategy, telecommunication providers will shift from regulation under the Telecommunications Act to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act, aligning with the sector’s criticality and risk profile.

In a recent development specifically targeting SMBs, the government unveiled a $7.2 million voluntary cyber health-check program. This initiative enables businesses to conduct tailored self-assessments of their cyber security maturity, aiming to offer insights into the strength of their cyber security measures and provide educational resources for upskilling.

Additionally, $11 million will be invested in the Small Business Cyber Resilience Service, offering personalized assistance and guidance to SMBs in navigating cyber attacks, as emphasized by Minister for Cyber Security Clare O’Neil.

O’Neil reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting small businesses in enhancing their cyber security measures, underscoring the strategy’s focus on six cyber shields. The shields serve as a framework to fortify businesses, organizations, and citizens, forming a unified national response to cyber threats.

The first shield concentrates on empowering individuals and businesses to take proactive measures in safeguarding themselves. This strategic approach follows prominent cyber attacks on entities like Optus, Medibank, and DW World, which manages various Australian ports.

The Cyber Security Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) had previously urged the government and businesses to elevate their cyber security measures in response to escalating threats following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, underscoring the criticality of proactive measures before these recent attacks.

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