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Australia Outlines Six ‘Cyber Shields’ Strategy Against Digital Threats

clare o'niel

Australia has introduced its first national strategy to address the increasing number of cyberattacks targeting individuals and organizations across the nation.

Clare O’Neil, the nation’s first cabinet minister for cybersecurity, unveiled the plan during the Australian Financial Review’s 2023 Cyber Summit on Monday.

According to O’Neil, who is also the minister for home affairs, the strategy aims to build six cyber shields that will protect businesses, organizations and Australians from online threats

The first cyber shield will focus on awareness and ensuring that citizens understand the threat they face daily and know what actions they can take to protect themselves from becoming a victim of a cyberattack. 

The next shield promotes safe technology, specifically digital products. By 2030, Australia aims to create clear global standards for digital safety that will guide manufacturers to build products from inception with consumer welfare in mind. 

The Australian government also plans to increase threat-sharing and threat-blocking between public and private sectors as part of its cyber strategy. O’Neil finds this shield as “the most exciting,” saying that there is a “lot of inspiring, interesting work” that needs to be done to achieve real-time exchange of information between government and businesses.

The fourth shield aims to protect access to critical infrastructure.

“I’m most concerned about is attacks on infrastructure Australians rely on every day – on our water systems, on our electricity, on the provision of the internet, on our energy grid,” she said.

The fifth and final cyber shields seek to maintain a  thriving local cyber ecosystem and coordinate global action against threats.

“As the cyber challenge reshapes, we will take stock and each two years … will build out the next phase of this plan that will ultimately see the country surrounded by these six firm shields of protection that will help keep our citizens safe,” O’Neil said.

“If we push as hard as we have over the last year all the way up until 2030 I truly and genuinely believe that our country will be a world-class cybersecurity nation by 2030.”

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