Australia's inaugural ambassador for cyber affairs has been named as academic and information security policy adviser Dr Tobias Feakin.
Dr Feakin will take up the ambassadorial role in January 2017.
The position was established following a recommendation made in the Government’s $230 million cyber security strategy, which “encourages collaboration between Australian Government, business, academia and communities to improve cyber security.”
The ambassador for cyber affairs will lead Australia’s international cyber effort, working closely with the special adviser to the Prime Minister on cyber security, named recently as Alastair MacGibbon.
“Cyber threats are not bound by national borders so our ambassador’s role will be to promote cyber security in our region and advocate against state censorship of the internet,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
He will also be charged with promoting “Australia’s view that opportunities provided by the internet should be available to all people.”
Dr Feakin is perhaps best known in recent times as a member of the independent panel of experts that supported the Australian Cyber Security Review to produce Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy.
He has been the director of national security programs at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute since 2012 and established the Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre.
Past research and advisory roles also include the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, the Oxford University Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre, the Global Commission on Internet Governance and the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.
Dr Feakin holds an Honours Degree in Security Studies and a Doctorate of Philosophy in International Politics and Security Studies, both from the University of Bradford.
The ambassador’s appointment comes in the same week as another element of the Government’s cyber security strategy was actioned.
The ASX and ASIC this week invited ASX100 companies to participate in a “health check” to benchmark their awareness, capability and preparation levels around cyber security.
The health check is an adapted version of a similar survey run in the UK with FTSE350 companies.
“The ASX100 cyber health check has brought together Government, regulators and industry on an issue of critical importance to Australian business and the millions of investors who hold shares in Australian companies,” ASX group executive Amanda Harkness said.
“The sharing of best practice, and increased awareness and engagement by directors of listed companies are important steps in building the cyber resilience of Australian business.
“The better informed boards become, the more effectively they can assess their cyber security risks and opportunities, including identifying areas where improvement is required.
“Participation will reassure shareholders and the broader community that boards are actively engaged in addressing cyber issues.”