Telco org calls for better cyber security co-ordination by government

There are a large number of government departments with overlapping responsibilities says Alliance

The Communications Alliance has welcomed the federal government's Cyber Security Review, saying that historic developments have left Australia with a large number of government departments and agencies with overlapping cyber security responsibilities.

The review is looking at how government and industry can work together to improve the security of online systems. Outcomes of the review will be presented in May 2015.

"A better co-ordination of the current spread of agencies and programs and the creation of a single national point of access to government’s cyber security agencies is likely to increase efficiencies and to deliver a clearer message to all stakeholders," argued Communications Alliance's submission to the review

The telco industry body also called for more Australians to be educated on the basics of IT security.

“As social engineering is a key element of cybercrime, it is essential that individuals and small businesses are being educated on the basis of IT security,” states the submission.

“A concerted coordinated effort is required to achieve high levels of awareness, education and implementation of security measures. Industry contends that the diverse array of education and awareness initiatives across federal and state agencies is not conducive to achieving this aim.”

According to Comms Alliance, a strategy should be developed that analyses the key targets of education initiatives, focuses the messaging and activities of each program and ensures a co-ordinated delivery.

“As we rapidly move closer toward an environment of Internet of Everything, the challenge of good cyber awareness, literacy and ultimately security equally moves from being a must for businesses to being imperative for all individuals in Australia who will own or operate an ever increasing number and variety of smart devices, computers and consumer electronics,” read the submission.

The Communications Alliance’s submission went on to say that a government led education campaign is required to promote the safer use of social media, email and the Internet.

“Currently, government initiatives like SCAM and the Stay Smart Online Alert Service go in this direction, however, they require individuals to actively search for information and subscribe rather than pushing information out to the general public,” read the submission.

“There is a role for government to foster an instinctive understanding of the general public that cyber security is part of daily life and routine as much as road safety, environmental consciousness and healthy lifestyles ought to be.”

Turning to small businesses and cybercrime, the Communications Alliance suggested that the use of awards and certification levels might be used to encourage SMBs to implement cyber security measures.

“While larger Australian businesses are likely to have access to more financial resources to provide attractive employment packages for cyber security professionals, smaller businesses may not be able to compete with cyber security experts’ expectations of remuneration,” read the submission.

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The Communications Alliance also said that the review and any resulting framework must link in with other government security related initiatives such as the Telecommunications Security Sector Reform (TSSR), data retention legislation, copyright and website blocking legislation.

"Currently, these initiatives appear to run in parallel and without a clearly formulated overall strategy. Industry also raises its concerns over the perception that all Industry players ought to and are able to fund these initiatives."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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