The NSW Government has established a $25.3 million cyber security centre at a top-secret location in Sydney.
The new Cyber Security Operations Centre – a joint project of the NSW Police Force and Cyber Security NSW – is a covert solution designed to combat cyber threats from hackers and organised criminals in real time.
It will be staffed by a team of 15 analysts and engineers working seven days a week.
In addition to facilitating a range of identification and preventative measures against cyber threats, the centre has also employed physical security steps, such as a hefty, 300-kilogram bulletproof door at the entrance, to ensure security is nailed at all levels.
Designed to protect important information from various forms of cyber attacks, the new centre provides a particular focus on guarding sensitive data held by the New South Wales Police.
Police databases contain multitudes of sensitive information, from case data through to personally identifiable information such as names and fingerprints.
Recently, a historically massive data breach impacted a Shanghai police database and compromised the personal details of over one billion Chinese citizens, serving as a bleak reminder of how effectively infrastructure assets can be compromised.
This new initiative in Sydney is said to have the power to isolate similar cyber attacks from infiltrating a wider police network, and as such, has the potential to prevent a similar attack or data breach from having an otherwise major impact.
Australia commits to cyber security
The new cyber security centre in Sydney falls in line with the Australian Governments' 10-year, $9.9 billion budgetary investment into "Australia's offensive and defensive cyber capabilities," as well as the Department of Home Affairs' Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, which aims to bolster national cyber security so that critical infrastructure assets can "continue to operate in an all-hazards environment."
It can be difficult to quantify exactly how many cyberattacks are leveraged against Australian entities on a daily basis, but in the financial year 2020-21 the Australian Cyber Security Centre revealed an average of one cyberattack every eight minutes, and of a pool of 67,500 reported attacks, 25 per cent were linked to Australia's critical infrastructure and essential services.
"It's very real," said Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell, "The amount of people and actors that are trying to infiltrate us and our footprint in cyber world is astounding."
Attacks such as the infamous, allegedly state-actor-launched cyberattack against Australian Parliament in 2019 have only accelerated Australia's commitment to cyber security, and initiatives such as this new Cyber Security Operations Centre may be but a hint of things to come.
Digital Minister Victor Dominello tweeted about the reasoning behind the new high-security centre, stating "almost all crime that is committed these days have a cyber element."
"We’re not talking about amateurs hacking behind closed doors or in the back garage," he added.
The global state of cybercrime is largely organised by criminal or state-based organisations, both of which have a high incentive to target public infrastructure such as police systems.