Western Australia’s government has overhauled its Digital Security Policy to better protect public sector operations from cyber threats.

The announcement comes following the release of the annual Auditor General’s Information Systems Audit report, which found weaknesses in the government’s ICT practices.

"The McGowan Labor Government understands the rising threat cyber security attacks pose to the public sector and community, and are working with government agencies to address them,” said Minister for Innovation and ICT, Dave Kelly.

The updated policy, developed by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, gives public sector agencies guidance and tools to protect themselves against cyber threats, and bring cybersecurity to an international standard.

It comes after the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks caused havoc online.

"In May 2017, the 'WannaCry' malware outbreak affected an estimated 200,000 computers across 150 countries worldwide. There has been another major cyber security attack from the 'Petya' ransomware, affecting businesses and governments around the world.

"These ongoing attacks demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and the importance of ensuring WA Government agencies are on the front foot in preventing successful attacks,” said Kelly.

L to R: David Kelly, WA Innovation and ICT Minister; Arnold Wong, ACS Treasurer; Anthony Wong, ACS President. Source: Supplied

ACS President, Anthony Wong, welcomed the new policy, which will require agencies to continuously update security management practices to align with the internationally established standard for creating Information Security Management Systems (ISO 27001).

“It is pleasing to see state and federal governments prioritising cybersecurity and education, especially considering the latest ransomware attacks worldwide,” said Wong.

“The Digital Security Policy is a welcome addition to further boost Australia's cybersecurity capability.

“As Australia’s peak ICT membership body, ACS highlighted the growing need for a cyber-smart nation. The cost of cybercrime on Australian businesses, as detailed in Australia’s Digital Pulse report, found the average cost of a cyber attack to an Australian business is approximately $419,000.”

Premier McGowan has written to all Ministers requesting they speak to their respective departments discuss implementation as an issue of high priority.