Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Strong cyber security is a fundamental element of our growth and prosperity in a global economy. It is also vital for our national security. It requires partnership involving governments, the private sector and the community.

Being connected is now essential, creating new opportunities for innovation and growth for all Australians. To be competitive, businesses need to be online. But this also brings risks. Australia is increasingly a target for cybercrime and espionage. All of us—governments, businesses and individuals—need to work together to build resilience to cyber security threats and to make the most of opportunities online.

To grow, Australia needs to innovate and further diversify its economy—to access new markets and new forms of wealth creation. We must embrace disruptive technologies; those that have the potential to fundamentally change traditional business models and the way people live and work. They will open up new possibilities for agile businesses in ways as yet unimagined.

But the potential of digital technologies depends on the extent to which we can trust the Internet and cyberspace. Getting cyber security right will mean we capture more of the opportunities the connected world offers. It will also make Australia a preferred place to do business. This in turn will boost our national prosperity. We can also expand our cyber security businesses and export capability.

Australia’s cyber security is built on a solid foundation. Our past investment has been strong. Recent Government initiatives such as the Australian Cyber Security Centre have lifted Government capabilities to a new level. Many of our larger businesses, particularly banks and telecommunications companies, have strong cyber security capabilities. Our future work will build on this platform.

We must also do more. If an organisation is connected to the Internet, it is vulnerable to compromise. As people and systems become ever more interconnected, the quantity and value of information held online has increased. So have efforts to steal and exploit that information, harming our economy, privacy and safety. Cyberspace, and the dynamic opportunities it offers, is under persistent threat.

Malicious cyber activity is a security challenge for all Australians. Australian organisations across the public and private sectors have been compromised by state-sponsored or non state actors. Overseas, large multinational companies and government organisations have been targeted, losing substantial amounts of sensitive commercial and personal information or incurring major damage to their business and reputation.

To grow our cyber security capabilities to anticipate and respond to cyber threats, we must address our shortage of cyber security professionals. It is critical that we build our nation’s stock of cyber security skills, which are becoming increasingly essential for life and work in our connected world.

Ultimately, to deal with all these challenges we must elevate cyber security as an issue of national importance. Leadership will be critical to achieving this goal.

The Australian Government will take a lead role and in partnership with others, promote action to protect our online security. Much of our digital infrastructure is owned by the private sector, so securing Australia’s cyberspace must also be a shared responsibility. It will be important that businesses and the research community work with governments and other stakeholders to improve our cyber defences and create solutions to shared problems.

A strategy to secure our prosperity in a connected world

The Government is committed to enabling innovation, growth and prosperity for all Australians through strong cyber security. This is in line with the Australian Government’s broader National Innovation and Science Agenda to help to create a modern, dynamic, 21st Century economy for Australia.

This strategy establishes five themes of action for Australia’s cyber security over the next four years to 2020:

  1.  A national cyber partnership
  2.  Strong cyber defences
  3.  Global responsibility and influence
  4.  Growth and innovation
  5.  A cyber smart nation

Five themes of actionFive themes of action

5 Pillars of action graphic

Each theme is supported by actions the Government will take to improve our cyber security and ensure Australia can continue to grow and prosper today and to seize opportunities for tomorrow. Recognising that cyberspace is dynamic, the Strategy’s initiatives will be reviewed and updated annually and the Strategy reviewed and updated every four years.

Some actions are already underway and will be ongoing. Others are new and will be co-designed with stakeholders from the private sector, research community and international partners. Many of these actions also rely on working with all Australians—because we all have a part to play in enhancing our security and confidence in Australia as a modern economy and trusted place to do business.

The ideas that underpin this Strategy were drawn from a classified Cyber Security Review led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Department, through the new position of a Special Adviser on Cyber Security, will lead implementation of this Strategy for the Government, in its central responsibility for cyber security policy.

Ultimately, all of us—governments, businesses, communities and individuals—need to tackle cyber security threats to make the most of online opportunities. This Strategy charts a new way forward for Australia’s cyber future, one that is creative, collaborative and adaptable.