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Australian cybersecurity to take 'big science' approach

Australia should take advantage of cutting edge science to tackle cybersecurity issues, the head of the country's cyber defence group has said.20 Apr 2016

Jackie Craig, chief of the Cyber and Electronic Warfare division of Australia's Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), told a recent conference that blue sky scientific projects with "audacious" goals often lead to practical inventions "along the way", ZDNet has reported.

"There's a tremendous opportunity within a big-science approach to have what we would call 'off-ramps' to produce technology that could be exploited within Australia, and also go out for export," Craig said.

Cybersecurity needs a profound, multi-disciplinary approach so the whole science and technology community will have to work together to tackle the problems, she said.

Scientific researchers also tend to have good outreach programmes that cybersecurity experts can learn from, Craig said.

"The more we outreach and educate people about cybersecurity, the better our overall cybersecurity will be, because they will begin to take on the behaviours that make us more secure in the cyber domain," she said.

The Australian government is due to release a new version of its Cyber Security Strategy this week. Its release was originally planned to coincide with the Australian Cyber Security Centre conference where Craig spoke, but was delayed, according to ZDNet.

Gary Blair, chief executive officer of the Australian Cyber Security Research Institute told ZDNet that the strategy will help Australia to gain "a lot of new intellectual property in cyber" that it can commercialise.

"That will have some major effects for Australia. One is that it will improve the national cyber resilience, and two, it'll have an economic effect, because we'll be able to displace some of our reliance on imported technologies, and indeed build up an industry that has export potential," he told the news site.

In November 2015 the Australian government identified cyber security as one of the country's nine strategic research priorities and issued a cyber security capability statement that identified four practical needs that had to be solved: highly-secure and resilient communications and data acquisition, storage, retention and analysis for government services; secure technologies for software applications, mobile services, cloud computing and critical infrastructure; new technologies and approaches to support the nation’s cyber security; and an understanding of the scale of the cyber security challenge for Australia.