Australia Unveils Cyber Strategy with Focus on International Cooperation

Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy, released earlier this month, lays out an ambitious agenda on steps the government will take to increase international cybersecurity cooperation and information sharing, reduce cyber crime and boost digital trade and increase digital rights in the Indo-Pacific region.

Highlighting the economic opportunities fueled by the digital revolution, the strategy emphasized the need for a strong cybersecurity foundation. “While we champion an open, free and secure internet, I believe it is important for the security of our nation and the security of all Australians that cyberspace is not an ungoverned space,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

“Australia’s interests in cyberspace are diverse and interconnected. We want to capture the economic prosperity promised by digital trade and technology-enabled development. We also want to secure Australia from the threat of cybercriminals and other malicious actors online.”

Dr. Tobias Feakin, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affair, previewed the government’s strategy at the Sept. 13 8th Annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit. To realize the full potential of the economic prosperity that digital trade and technology has enabled, it must be coupled with strong protections against cybercriminals and other malicious actors, he said.

  View his keynote at the Billington Summit

The Strategy focuses on seven key themes: Digital Trade, Cyber Security, Cybercrime, International Security, Internet Governance & Cooperation, Human Rights & Democracy Online and Technology for Development.

In combating cyber threats, the Strategy states, “Australia cannot act in isolation. Collaborative networks with international partners are critical to combating global threats. Cyber security is strengthened by a dynamic domestic cyber security industry that is active internationally.”

In addition to the $4 million provided in 2016, Bishop announced the Australian government will invest $10 million to the Cyber Cooperation Program to support the strategy’s implementation, focusing on the Indo-Pacific region. The program’s initiatives include a cyber security network and scholarship opportunities.

Role of Australia’s CERT

Australia will continue to bolster its network of strategic information sharing partners, including Australia’s CERT. “CERT Australia is committed to strengthening and expanding its network of CERT relationships in the Indo-Pacific and more broadly to secure Australia’s critical infrastructure and other systems of national interest. Australia is committed to participating in coordinated global efforts to strengthen global CERT capacity – both sharing our expertise and learning from others.”

Download the eight-chapter strategy paper