Aus Gov launches international cyber strategy

The Federal Government has launched Australia’s first International Cyber Engagement Strategy (ICES), providing a cohesive national ‘action plan’ to tackle cyber threats and protect global digital trade.

Announced by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the strategy aims to promote online confidence, as well as reduce financial losses attributable to cybercrime, with a particular focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

Backed by a $10 million investment over three years, the ICES aims to put Australia at the forefront of international efforts to promote a stable online economy.

“Our international cyber engagement protects Australians and promotes our interests,” Bishop said in a statement.

“It positions us to harness opportunities and increase our cyber resilience. An open, free and secure internet drives economic growth, enhances our national security and fosters international stability.”

The strategy also encourages a 'multi-stakeholder' approach to internet governance that will be “inclusive, consensus-based, transparent and accountable,” encouraging regional partners to engage in cooperative discussion, the strategy states.

The increasing prevalence of state-sponsored cyberattacks has also inspired much of the strategy’s agenda.

“Australia is concerned by the increased willingness of states and non-state actors to pursue their objectives by undertaking malicious cyber activities contrary to international law and identified norms of responsible state behaviour.”

Working with Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) will also aid in building collective incident response capability to pre-emptively prevent and detect cyber incidents.

Maintaining strong relationships with international partners to collectively strengthen international cybersecurity supports the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) goal of creating a resilient cybersecurity framework within the Australian and Indo-Pacific region.

“Building trusted international cybersecurity threat sharing networks gives Australia and our partners the best possible chance of staying ahead of malicious actors,” the strategy states.

Over the last two years, the government has provided substantial funding to support the national cybersecurity strategy. The launch of Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy in 2016 furthered national investment into improved cybersecurity to $230 million across 33 new initiatives.