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Former British radio spy joins cyber security review

The former head of British signals intelligence, Sir Iain Lobban (pictured), has been appointed to the Cyber Security Review’s independent panel of experts, the Australian government announced on Saturday.

Lobban, who was director of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ between 2008 and 2014, “will be extremely valuable to the review as we shape Australia’s strategy to better protect Australia’s networks from cyber attack”, said Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a statement:

“Australia faces real and growing cyber threats. By 2017 more than nine out of 10 Australians will be routinely online and Australian businesses and consumers benefit from the opportunities that an interconnected world delivers.

“Since I announced the government’s cyber security review late last year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre has responded to 164 incidents involving government agencies and helped businesses respond to 2981 incidents. There are many more incidents that businesses have managed themselves.”

The Cyber Security Review aims to set out ideas on how the government, industry and academia can better work together to make Australia’s online systems and internet-connected networks more resilient against cyber attacks.

Lobban joined GCHQ in 1983 and performed a range of jobs there before joining the board in 2001. That same year he was a participant in the British Cabinet Office’s Top Management Programme, a four week intensive programme for senior managers from the public and private sectors who are likely to reach the highest level within business and government.

Other members of the panel include the CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott; Chief Security and Trust Officer at Cisco Systems in the United States, John Stewart; the Chief Information Security Officer at Telstra, Mike Burgess; and the Director of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Tobias Feakin.

So far, the review team has talked to over 140 large and small organisations across Australia and overseas.

After a series of delays, the Cyber Security Review is now expected to be completed near its original goal of mid-2015.

The review will:

  • update the Government’s cyber security priorities;
  • provide a view on the cyber threats and risks Australia faces;
  • clarify the Government’s role in cyber security for Australia, including how this contributes to the protection of critical infrastructure;
  • describe how Government and industry can best team up to defend ourselves jointly from those who want to harm us in cyber space;
  • outline an improved approach on Australia’s engagement with international cyber security forums, to further Australia’s interests and cement our leadership on cyber security; and
  • recommend practical initiatives to improve Australia’s cyber security, for Government consideration.

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The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.