From July 2021 to June 2022, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received over 76,000 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13% from the previous financial year.

As cyber criminals evolve the sophistication of their attack methods – from tailored ransomware and custom codings to phishing scams – cyber security can no longer be an afterthought.

It is crucial for organisations to address cyber threats and have in place a strategy to protect their businesses.

To match the growing importance of cyber security, the demand for skilled professionals is outpacing supply.

Despite Australia’s effort to grow its core cyber workforce by mobilising the education system with a large number of universities and TAFE colleges launching new cyber security degrees and courses, it is estimated that Australia will need approximately 16,600 additional cyber security workers for technical, as well as non-technical, positions by 2026.

While the Australian government has launched the Cyber Security Skills Framework, which provides a roadmap for developing the skills needed to protect Australia’s critical infrastructure and systems, it’s evident that more must be done to strengthen Australia’s cyber security posture as a nation and address the projected significant skills shortage.

How can Australia lead the world?

With an increased reliance on technology, the key to strengthening Australia’s cyber security starts with ensuring that we’re well protected against the use of new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and 5G.

Many businesses are looking to integrate these technologies into daily business operations, however, insufficient research and development into these technologies may put businesses at risk.

In fact, the recent Federal Budget highlights that while businesses are increasingly adopting emerging technologies, as a nation, we’re still lagging behind countries like the US in areas like cloud computing, machine learning, and AI adoption.

To maximise the potential of emerging technologies and create a competitive advantage against other nations, Australia needs to actively invest in emerging technologies to understand the benefits and risks involved, and ways to incorporate these technologies into their operations to reap the best benefits.

AI in cyber security: friend not foe

Businesses across the world are looking for ways to integrate AI and ML into their processes.

While AI is still in its early stages, businesses that are able to leverage AI and ML appropriately in cyber security will improve their ability to detect and respond to cyber threats, and automate the process of analysing large amounts of data.

This can help organisations streamline their processes, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cyber security efforts, and identify and detect any potential attacks in real-time and address them proactively.

Preparing for quantum cyber security

Quantum computing is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to solve complex problems at unprecedented speed.

While it brings tremendous opportunities for scientific breakthroughs and advancements in various industries, it also poses significant challenges to areas such as cyber security.

As we advance towards a future where quantum computers become more prevalent, the federal government has invested $60 million towards the Australian Quantum Growth Centre and the Critical Technologies Challenges Program to champion Australia’s quantum sector.

It is crucial that the Australian government continues to take proactive measures and constantly challenge the status quo to develop new technologies and strategies to protect against quantum-based cyber threats and ensure the security of our digital infrastructure.

The age of 5G security

While 5G will prove revolutionary in terms of productivity improvements, it will also contribute to a significant expansion in the cyber security threat landscape.

For mass adoption of 5G to be successful across Australia, it requires the development of new security technologies and the implementation of security standards for 5G networks.

It is key for the private and public sectors to collaborate to identify preventive measures towards any threats that can leave an individual or organisations vulnerable, in order for the nation to benefit from the value created by hyper-connectivity.

Supply chain vulnerabilities

With supply chains being highly interconnected, many threat actors are increasingly targeting supply chains to identify vulnerabilities and infiltrate systems and attack multiple partners or external parties at once.

In order to mitigate cyber attacks that can disrupt the operations of many businesses, businesses need to ensure that they are implementing new security measures, such as supply chain risk management, so that vulnerabilities in the supply chain are proactively addressed.

Empowering the future of Australia’s cyber security industry

We’ve made significant progress over the past few years to make Australia a more secure nation.

AustCyber’s mission is to support the development of a vibrant and globally competitive Australian cyber security sector.

To execute on this mission, it’s important that we continue to invest in emerging technologies, especially in areas experiencing rapid development, like cyber security.

The renewed focus announced in the recent Federal Budget provides a good standing point for Australia.

Government, innovation partners and emerging technology communities must work closely together and continue to invest in research and development in the field of cyber security to stay ahead of the curve and protect Australia’s critical information and infrastructure.

This content has been written by a topic area expert and is not a sponsored post or advertisement.

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