Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his government will create a cyber security role next month as part of a ministerial reshuffle. The new role will oversee the government’s COVID-19 economic security commitments.
The new role will be tagged to the Home Affairs portfolio, tasked with actioning cyber security legislation and the rollout of the Government’s cyber security strategy.
Cathie Reid, deputy chairwoman of the Government’s industry advisory committee guiding the rollout of the new strategy, said all companies should be aware of cyber security risks.
“A successful sustained cyberattack on a critical infrastructure asset such as an energy grid in NSW could cause consequential and cascading consequences across the country – and into other sectors reliant on that energy grid – shutting down financial services and hospitals in Queensland,” she said.
The prime minister’s decision follows recent incursions at Toll, Service NSW, BlueScope Steel and My Budget, among others, within which the cyber attackers in many cases appeared to face little opposition
The proposed laws, if passed, will provide powers allowing national security agencies to step in and support industries in disrupting and repelling cyber attackers; and cover the health, banking, finance, food and grocery, transport, energy, water, communications, space, higher education, research and defence industry sectors.
Ian Yip, CEO and Co-Founder of cybersecurity company Avertro has welcomed the prime minister’s decision to appoint a new head.
“Cybersecurity leadership at the appropriate levels of government is critical now more so than ever before,” he said. “The re-elevation of cybersecurity via an appropriate role in cabinet is a welcome move, particularly since changes made during the transition to our current Prime Minister resulted in a removal of cybersecurity from prominence in cabinet.
“The move caused concerns in the cybersecurity community at the time, and I’m sure others in the industry will join me in applauding the reinstatement of cybersecurity to its rightful place in our national agenda.’