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Cybersecurity posture of Commonwealth entities continues to improve: report

Last year, due to the rapid increase in cyber criminal activity in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the country had allocated a budget (also known as the CESAR package) of AUD 1.66 billion (approximately $1.19 billion) to bolster the cybersecurity defenses of Australian businesses and government agencies. Through this budget allocation, Australia has invested and launched several campaigns to increase its cyber resilience. To name a few:

  • AustCyber ​​has invested $1.22 million in cyber threat intelligence platform Aushield Defend. Part of these funds have been directed to a Cybersecurity Education Project TAFE, which is an initiative by the University of Adelaide to provide schools with IT resources and a cybersecurity jobs platform.
  • The government has introduced a basic cybersecurity standard for all IoT devices in the country, called a “code of practice”.
  • The ACSC has teamed up with the country’s leading telecommunications giant, Telstra, to stamp out phishing text spoofing.
  • The Australian government has entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States to jointly develop an e-learning platform.
  • Additionally, with the help of industry experts, the federal government has set guidelines to thwart ransomware attacks targeting businesses and public domain entities nationwide.
  • Apart from this, ACSC has undertaken other programs like Cyber ​​Maturity Measurement Program (CMMP), ACSC Cyber ​​Security Enhancement Services for Government (ACSUSG) and Security Tracking Program. Cybersecurity (CSAP) in 2020, to improve cyber defense posture.

All of these efforts have led to the growth of the Australian Government’s cybersecurity maturity and the overall resilience of all Commonwealth entities over the past year, and the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Posture Report 2020“, agrees with this.

Commonwealth Cybersecurity Report 2020

The said report, which updated the Australian parliament on the overall cybersecurity posture of all Commonwealth entities, highlighted that there has been a significant improvement in cybersecurity posture at all levels. However, to counter evolving threats, he suggested that Commonwealth entities build more resilience and mature faster than threat actors.

Although the report states that “no single mitigation strategy can comprehensively prevent cybersecurity incidents, implementing the ‘Eight Essentials’ mitigation steps can help organizations protect against a range of threats. cyberattacks”. For example, 12% of entities that improved application hardening improved, and similarly, 10.5% who controlled applications and 9.5% who correctly restricted admin privileges improved their overall position. in cybersecurity.

The plan ahead

In line with its Cybersecurity Strategy 2020, the ACSC said: “In 2021, the Australian Government will focus on a series of additional areas of effort to continue to strengthen the cybersecurity posture of Commonwealth entities. The CESAR package will maintain and enhance ACSC’s cybersecurity capabilities and the assistance provided to Australians over the next decade.

To pave the way for increased cyber resilience, the Australian Government will also focus on the following initiatives:

  • Harden Government IT (HGIT)
  • Cyber ​​Threat Intelligence Sharing (CTI)
  • Host-Based Sensor Program
  • Cyber ​​Toolbox Driver Program
  • COVID-19 vaccine protection
  • Commonwealth Cybersecurity Posture Reports

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