The Federal Government has pledged $745, 920 in funds for a new cybersecurity centre to help train and support Australian small businesses to deal with Cyber-attacks. While the announcement is welcome news for Australian businesses, it also spells good news for consumers that will benefit from better data security.
The Cybersecurity Aid Centre will be located in Parramatta, NSW, and run by Western Sydney University. Funding for the program will form part of the Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Grants Program, a government initiative that connects businesses with trusted cyber security companies to improve their cyber awareness.
Project lead, Professor Alana Maurushat from Western Sydney University, said the centre will offer businesses training seminars on cyber response, including how to deal with data breaches, ransomware attacks and email vulnerabilities. Businesses will also have access to a host of resources about cyber-attack including a Cyber Suite and Toolkit.
A hotline will be available to walk both consumers and businesses through the confusing and stressful process of what to do when they are experiencing cyber-attack, including how to uplift defences as part of effective business operations.
Tackling cybercrime is a priority for the Federal Government. Key statistics show that the damage to the Australian economy from business disruption by cybercriminals amounts to approximately AU$29 billion annually. A government report also shows there are 164 reports of cybercrime in Australia every day, that’s one report every 10 minutes.
The announcement comes after a spate of cyber-attacks on Australian organisations in the last 12 months, including attacks that have led to data breaches from high-profile organisations such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Service NSW, and a number of Victorian hospitals.
Most recently, a severe ransomware attack on the Sydney offices of TV broadcaster Channel Nine, saw disruption to the TV station’s emails and editing systems that brought down its news and current affairs broadcasts across Australia for 24 hours.
Marise Payne, Senator for Western Sydney, commended Western Sydney University for the program. “This latest investment is part of the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 and complements our $1.2 billion Digital Economy Strategy, which will be part of this year’s Federal Budget 2021-22,” she said.