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POSTED ON 26-June-24

The article was originally posted on RiotACT.


A combined effort between the government and the cyber security industry is needed to meet the challenges of a new cyber frontier and achieve resilience across Australia, according to a national cyber security leader.


Department of Home Affairs National Cyber Security Coordinator Lieutenant General Michelle McGuinness CSC said the nation’s cyber resilience goals could not be achieved without these key players working hand in hand.


“I’m working closely with industry and Australian businesses to help strengthen the continued collaboration between government and industry needed to uplift our cyber maturity,” she said.


”We are shepherding a new era of public-private co-leadership to enhance Australia’s cyber security and resilience.”


The Australian Signals Directorate’s Annual Cyber Threat Report 2022-23 said in the context of growing competition on multiple levels – economic, military, strategic and diplomatic – framed by competing values and narratives, Australian governments, critical infrastructure, businesses and households continued to be the target of “malicious cyber actors” with intent and capability to compromise the nation’s networks.


It also confirmed that the borderless and multi-billion-dollar cybercrime industry caused significant harm to Australia, and Australians were attractive targets for global cybercriminal syndicates.


But the story is not all grim.


LTGEN McGuinness said the government was taking a multi-pronged approach to ensure nobody was left behind in its efforts to boost the nation’s response to the threat, including its SMEs.


“Under the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, one of our goals is a future where every individual and business has the skills and resources they need to be cyber secure,” she said.


“That includes small businesses and vulnerable groups having dedicated support from government and industry.”


LTGEN McGuinness served in the Australian Defence Force for 30 years in a range of tactical, operational and strategic roles in Australia and internationally before joining the Department of Home Affairs to lead the nation’s cyber security policy, cultural reform and technological integration.


She will give the keynote address at Sovereign Cyber Capability Unlocked, a Canberra Cyber Hub event showcasing Canberra’s cyber expertise and connecting Canberra cyber companies to senior executive-level government decision-makers to support their domestic and international growth.


LTGEN McGuinness will outline the strategic direction for a cyber-resilient nation and position Australia to respond to the opportunities and challenges of the digital age.


“We want to build a cyber ecosystem where those that have the capability, expertise and experience to better protect Australians across the economy play a role in doing so,” she said.


Alongside the keynote address, 12 cyber SMEs will provide short pitches on their unique cyber capabilities and products and 20 companies will demonstrate their sovereign cyber capabilities at a mini trade exhibition.


Attendees will also be able to connect with more than 200 representatives from the Canberra cyber ecosystem and Federal and ACT Government C-suite decision-makers during the networking session.


Canberra Cyber Hub chair Dr Michael Frater said the event would showcase the diversity of cyber security offerings from Canberra-based companies.


“The thing that excites me is how broad that capability is and how well focused it is on the needs of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments,” he said.


Dr Frater said it could be challenging for people in the market for cybersecurity services to gauge the capabilities of the many companies offering cybersecurity services and to get in front of decision-makers.


“Gathering all these people under one roof means buyers can be exposed to the fantastic capabilities that would solve their problems, and suppliers are getting access to the people who need their services and products,” he said.


Sovereign Cyber Capability Unlocked takes place on Wednesday, 3 July, from 7:30 am to 10 am at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, 120 Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla. Register here.


The Canberra Cyber Hub is funded by the ACT Government. Sovereign Cyber Capability Unlocked is sponsored by Red Piranha and the ACS.