Spy agencies to receive $1.35b under cyber security package

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday June 30, 2020


More than 500 new jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate will be created as part of the federal government’s $1.35 billion cyber security investment.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday said the funds would be directed to the ASD and the Australian Cyber Security Centre over the next decade, with a focus on developing new capabilities and improving understanding of malicious cyber activity to better detect and defeat emerging threats.

The Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package includes:

  • $31 million to improve ASD’s ability to disrupt cybercrime offshore, and provide assistance to federal, state and territory law enforcement agencies,
  • $35 million for a new platform where industry and government can share intelligence about malicious cyber activity, and “block emerging threats in near real-time”,
  • $12 million to enable ASD and Australia’s major telecommunications providers to quickly block known malicious websites and computer viruses,
  • $118 million for ASD to expand its data science and intelligence capabilities,
  • $62 million for a national situational awareness capability to enable ASD to understand and respond to cyber threats on a national scale, including through advising vulnerable sectors about mitigating cyber threats,
  • $20 million to establish “cutting-edge” research laboratories to improve understanding of threats to emerging technology and keep the ASD up to date on the most secure ways for organisations to adopt new technology,
  • $470 million to expand the cyber security workforce, with more than 500 ASD jobs.

Further details of the CESAR package will be outlined in the government’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy.

Defence minister Linda Reynolds said the package was part of a $15 billion investment in cyber and information warfare capabilities that would be included in the Department of Defence’s 2020 Force Structure Plan.

“The package will put our nation on the front foot in combatting cyber threats and our investment in a cyber security workforce will help ensure we have the people we need to meet future cyber challenges,” she said.

The announcement has come less than two weeks after Reynolds and Scott Morrison revealed a sophisticated state-based actor has been targeting Australia’s public and private sectors for several months.

Read more: Ex US secretary of homeland security to help develop Australia’s new cyber security strategy


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