Australian Signals Directorate public servants will partner with honours students from the Australian National University under a new grant program to encourage careers in cyber security.
The ANU grant, worth $8000 and coined CO-Lab, will bring together the ASD’s analysts and technologists with 30 students studying STEM fields as well as psychology, sociology and languages.
The honours students must be undertaking a research project that aligns with the interests of the ADS, which will offer training, career guidance and mentoring.
Defence assistant minister said cyber security needed Australians with a rare mix of specialist skills, including adaptability and imagination.
It came as ADS director-general Rachel Noble flagged in a speech on Thursday that a quarter of all cyber attacks the organisation responded to were targeted at infrastructure including health services, energy, water and telecommunications.
“Some were state actors undertaking intelligence gathering, reconnaissance and pre-positioning malicious software most likely with a view to activate it at a time of their choosing to deny, degrade or disrupt critical services to Australians.,” she said.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the grant and the Co-Lab collaboration displayed the university’s national mission.
“This is a vital initiative as so much of our modern society relies on cyber – and the field will only continue to grow,” Schmidt said.
“Our students will work with the country’s leading agency on cybersecurity to help build and secure the future.”