Australia plans to reform cyber security rules, set up agency


SYDNEY – Australia plans to overhaul its cyber security rules and set up an agency to oversee government investment in the field and help coordinate responses to hacker attacks, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil told public radio on Monday.

The comments come amid a rise in cyber attacks since late last year with breaches reported by at least eight companies, including health insurer Medibank Private Ltd. and telco Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.

Current cyber security rules are not adequate to deal with attacks and cannot protect consumer data, Ms. O’Neil told ABC Radio, blaming the previous government for implementing them.

“That law was bloody useless, like not worth being printed on the paper when it came to actually using it in a cyber incident,” Ms. O’Neil said in an interview. “They’re not fit for purpose at the moment, and I do think they need reform.”

She said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will meet industry leaders and cyber security experts on Monday, and that he has decided to appoint a cyber security coordinator tasked with ensuring government agencies work together during cyber incidents.

“Different parts of government and the private sector (are) doing important things, but kind of all rowing in different directions,” Ms. O’Neil said.

The office of the cyber security coordinator will exist within the department of home affairs, she said.

The government has published a discussion paper on a new cyber security strategy, which it aims to implement next year, and is seeking feedback on how businesses can improve their cyber security in partnership with the government. – Reuters

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