The increasing prevalence of cyber threats and the need for businesses and individuals to prioritise cyber security is a major focus for the Australian Government in 2023. During the address at the National Press Club in late 2022, the Hon Clare O'Neil MP outlined a number of new measures to improve cyber security across the country. These measures are designed to protect the government, businesses, and individuals from cyberattacks.
Here is a closer look at the key cyber security implementations that the government will be making in 2023 and why they are important.
1. Strengthening the government's own cyber security infrastructure
In an effort to stay on the front foot when it comes to cyber security, the government will be updating and modernising the systems and technologies used to protect sensitive data and networks, as well as increasing the number of trained cyber security professionals within the government.
This is a vital initiative, as the government handles a vast amount of sensitive and confidential information, and it’s crucial that this information is protected from cyber attacks. By strengthening its own cyber security infrastructure, the government can ensure that it is better equipped to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats.
2. Implementing new regulations and standards for businesses
Minister O'Neil emphasised the need for the government to work closely with the private sector and other stakeholders to address cyber security challenges.
The Australian government will be introducing a new set of cyber security guidelines for businesses to follow in order to improve their cyber security posture. As has been demonstrated during recent events, businesses hold a large amount of sensitive and valuable data, and a data breach or cyber attack can have serious consequences for both the business and its customers. By introducing new regulations and standards, the government can help businesses to better protect their data and reduce the risk of cyber attacks.
3. Developing a national cyber security strategy
The government will be creating a framework for coordinating cyber security efforts across all levels of government and establishing clear roles and responsibilities for each agency. This will ensure that all levels of government are working together effectively to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats. It will also help to foster clear communication and cooperation between different agencies, which is vital in the fast-moving world of cyber security.
4. Improving the cyber security of critical infrastructure
Working with businesses and organisations that operate critical infrastructure systems, such as power grids and transportation systems, to ensure they are properly secured is a central focus of 2023. Systems are essential to the functioning of the country are of major importance, and a cyber attack on them could have serious consequences. By improving the cyber security of critical infrastructure, the government can protect these vital systems from cyber threats.
5. Cooperating internationally to address cyber security challenges
Minister O’Neil has also highlighted the need for international cooperation to address the global nature of cyber threats and highlighted the government's efforts in building strong partnerships with other countries in this area.
International cooperation is essential in addressing cyber security challenges because cyber threats often cross national borders and as such, the nature of the internet and the global interconnectedness of computer networks make it difficult for any single country or organisation to address cyber security challenges on its own.
6. Recognising the need for a greater focus on cyber security literacy and training
Minister O'Neil also called out the need for more education and training in cyber security to help improve cyber literacy to address the growing need amongst businesses in the Australian economy.
This need has been emphasised through:
- The severity of modern cyber attacks leading to greater consequences, including financial loss, reputational damage, and legal liability.
- Legal or industry requirements calling for the implementation of certain cyber security measures, such as data encryption or secure authentication. Increased cyber security training can help organisations understand and comply with these requirements.
- The evolving nature of the cyber security field, requiring professionals to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices in order to effectively protect against threats. Continuing education and training is necessary to ensure that professionals have the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively.
Overall, the initiatives being planned in 2023 will take us a step closer to a stronger cyber security stance and help to protect the government, businesses and individuals from cyber attacks, data breaches and other online threats. The attacks in 2022 showed that without a greater focus on cyber security through both private industry, and government, we are very vulnerable. Headed by the Hon Clare O’Neil MP, the government will be taking proactive measures to improve cyber security awareness, engagement and regulations across the country to create a safer and more secure online environment for all.