6 Aug 2020
Sometimes the most dangerous enemies are the ones closest to home—and that’s exactly when cybersecurity needs to up its game. That’s the idea behind the Australian federal government’s brand-new $1.66 billion cybersecurity package, unveiled this morning, and positioned to, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, “track criminals in the darkest corners of the Internet to protect our families and children.” The initiative comes amid the COVID-19 lockdown, which has driven both families and businesses to spend more time online. One of the larger elements of the cybersecurity package includes $88 million to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for attaining powerful new cyber tools and boosting its cyber capabilities, in order to break into parts of the dark web that house online pedophiles and domestic terrorists. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton expressed particular concerns about children being targeted in chat groups, cybercriminals scamming the elderly with phishing tactics, and ransomware attacks on businesses, as well as foreign governments’ attempts to steal health data and corrupt banking or energy systems. Earlier this year, Australia faced an escalating series of cyberattacks allegedly enacted by a rival state, which federal security agencies eventually linked to China. PM Morrison emphasized that the goal was for the government to protect its essential infrastructure and services, but it also seeks to utilize its new cybersecurity resources in supporting businesses as they venture further into the digital world.