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Updated: Federal Government launches cybercrime fighting team

Updated: Federal Government launches cybercrime fighting team

Legal frameworks and Government bodies created in an effort to boost awareness

The Federal Government has launched its cyber security strategy and created a new quick-response team to deal with digital threats.

According to a joint release by the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, the plan is the first of its kind in Australia.

“The new Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy describes the way in which the Government is tackling security threats to our computers,” McClelland said in a speech. “Defamation, fraud, copyright infringement, drug trafficking, even planning for terrorist activities…Government has to adapt its policies, laws and institutions to ensure it can prevent and, where necessary, respond to these activities.”

The Federal Opposition Liberal party spokesperson, Senator Nick Minchin, agreed with the Government's methods and supported moves to link Government departments, but criticised the lack of NBN security planning.

"Cyber crime certainly poses a serious online threat and ongoing vigilance is required," he said. "Collaborative international efforts is a sensible approach to identifying and combating known and emerging risks."

The strategy aims to formalise the responsibilities of all Government departments and create a legal framework to be used against cyber criminals. As part of the solution, the Attorney-General launched the computer emergency response team (CERT) as the nation’s main body to fight cyber crime. CERT is set to start work in January 2010 and become fully operational by July.

“[CERT] will be the national coordination point for providing cyber security information and advice to all Australians,” he said. “It will be managed by my Department and will work closely with the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC)... established following the Defence White Paper released in May this year.

“It will work with other national CERTs around the world, the IT industry and Australian Internet service providers to help network operators identify and respond to cyber security incidents.”

The CSOC, which will operate under the Defence Signals Directorate, will be staffed with public servants from the Australian Federal Police and spy agency, ASIO.

The Government’s main driver to fight spam and identity theft is public education with the launch of a new booklet titled Protecting your Identity.

“It provides Australians with practical advice and strategies on how to protect personal and financial information, as well as information on our computers and what to do if we’ve been a victim of identity theft,” McClelland said.

For more information, visit the office of the Attorney General here.


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Tags Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy

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