Australia is not close to being adequately prepared for cyber war, says a stern new report that adds the nation is “badly lagging” behind its counterparts abroad.
The Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) has revealed that the Australian Government and its civilian organizations – including the Defence Force of Australia are lagging behind countries like China and the United States, according to a report by ABC News Australia.
The report was released by Professor Greg Austin who warned that Australia’s approach to cyber threats that have recently emerged are “slow and fragmented.” The country also needs to engage in a “rapid catch-up in capabilities for military security for the information age,” according to the Professor.
Subsequently, another report by the ACCS has also warned the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that it hasn’t done enough to even test its capabilities in withstanding cyber attacks from reaching the country’s weapon systems.
With diplomatic ties, Australia has known to rely on the Unted States for its security requirements and safeguards for the past six decades. However, the report warned that such support does not particularly include the realm of cyber-warfare.
Professor Austin explained:
The reliance by middle powers such as Australia on the United States for extended deterrence may not have as much impact in cyber space as for kinetic operations.
While there has been much debate in the public space about Australia’s military capabilities, the Professor added that there has been “no effort in public” as an endeavor by the government to “benchmark national security needs in cyber space.”
The Professor also called for a high-profile national debate about whether the country needed the infrastructural need for cyber innovation for future warfare or the ability to build more naval combat ships and submarines.
The report added:
We need first of all an open and public debate on our military, security and civil needs in cyber space and how well our emerging capabilities match those needs.
We would have to admit, as so many specialists have argued, that we are badly lagging.
Professor Austin’s study also revealed that Australia risks being overtaken by China in defenses against cyber attacks. Within 20 years, China’s civil, economic and military capabilities in cyber space, the Professor says, will be far more advanced than that of Australia.
The Professor called for the formation of a national innovation strategy – a blueprint of sorts that will also require increased investment in IT and education to bring more young minds into the field of cybersecurity.
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