The Government will invest $230 million over four years into its long-awaited new cyber security strategy for Australia.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled the strategy at an event in Sydney, almost a fortnight after the text of the strategy was substantially leaked.

The new strategy houses 33 initiatives that are collectively designed to “deliver improved cyber security for the nation”.

Those initiatives include:

  • Annual cyber security meetings hosted by the Prime Minister
  • New threat sharing arrangements
  • The relocation of the Australian Cyber Security Centre out of ASIO “making it easier for industry to engage with it”
  • Investment in cyber research
  • Government support for 5000 small businesses to have their cyber security tested by certified practitioners
  • General skilling up for the Government’s capabilities in the space.

Turnbull promised the creation of about 100 new roles directly through the new strategy, which would mainly be concentrated at CERT Australia, the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police.

The strategy also tackles the pipeline shortage of cyber security professionals in Australia by focusing a number of initiatives around education.

These include the establishment of “academic centres of cyber security excellence in universities” and initiatives to help “people at all stages of their careers to develop cyber security skills”.

“There is no infrastructure more important to our future prosperity than an open, free and secure internet,” Turnbull said.

“The security threats we face are real and they are growing in severity and frequency. Although we make advances in cyber security so do our adversaries.

“This strategy addresses how we can continue to protect ourselves and be more resilient to malicious cyber activity—as individuals, businesses, governments and as a nation.”

Today I am with @TurnbullMalcolm & @cpyne to launch Australia's Cyber Security Strategy #auspol

— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 21, 2016

Turnbull said he would also create “a new ministerial role assisting the prime minister on cyber security” and that the Minister for Foreign Affairs would also appoint a cyber ambassador to lead international engagement “in advocating for an open, free, and secure internet”.

New growth centre

Also announced today was the establishment of what the Government calls a “Cyber Security Growth Centre”, which officially falls under the auspices of the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) rather than the cyber security strategy.

“The growth centre will bring together Australian governments, businesses, start-ups and the research community to define and prioritise cyber security challenges that are both critical to national success and those for which Australia has a leading ability to build globally competitive solutions,” Turnbull said.

“The growth centre will also link to existing cyber security innovation hubs overseas … and its network will help strengthen our cyber defences as well as growing business opportunities and creating jobs.

“This includes through its connection with other initiatives in this strategy such as joint cyber threat sharing centres.”

A NSW hub of the growth centre will be housed at the Australian Technology Park, “leveraging CSIRO’s Data61’s advanced cyber capability”, the Government said.

Victoria will house a growth centre node at Goods Shed “with the recently announced Oceania Cyber Security Centre, Oxford’s Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre and Data61.”

Doug Elix AO and Adrian Turner will lead the growth centre initiative. Elix is a former IBM veteran while Turner is the present CEO of Data61.

Staying safe

Turnbull said the cyber security strategy should be used by all Australians as a reason to review their security postures.

“We all need to pay more attention to cyber safety – to cyber hygiene if you like - securing our devices and protecting them with appropriate credentials,” he said.

“We should regularly update our passwords and guard them as though they were our banking PIN, and we must pay special attention to unusual looking links in emails and other communications - because, chances are, if something looks suspicious, it probably is.”

Turnbull said he wanted Australia “to lead the world in cyber security”.

“We have the brains and the imagination to do so,” he added.