Not a Wake Up Call
“Hacking American beef: the relentless rise of ransomware – Cyber attack on JBS has been a wake-up call for governments and businesses to strengthen defences”
“Australian cyber attack not ‘sophisticated’ – just a wake-up call for businesses, experts say”
“The Colonial Pipeline attack should be a wake-up call for hardening our cyber defenses”
What more will it take for us to accept the threat of cyber attack is all pervasive and here to stay?How many jobs or lives lost before we embed cybersecurity into our day-to-day operations in the same way we have incorporated other important concepts like occupational health and safety? In particular, the danger to our critical infrastructure is very real. And we have known this for decades. As far back as 1984, former US President Ronald Reagan directed his administration to create policies to protect the US Government’s information technology and systems after the science-fiction film ‘WarGames’ made him doubt his own government’s cyber security capabilities. After looking into his concerns, US generals confirmed the seriousness of the risk. In recent years we’ve seen State and Federal governments commit millions to bolster Australia’s cyber security capabilities and strengthen relevant legislation. This is encouraging. But we are vulnerable on countless fronts. It can’t just be left to the government of the day to determine Australia’s cyber security readiness. What if criminals decided to hack into airline systems, rendering them incapable to receive crucial communications mid-air? What if they shut down the ABC’s emergency response system during bushfire season? All organisations – public and private – need to seriously consider their investment in defensive and comprehensive cyber security measures. In December last year, the ACSC launched its ‘Act Now, Stay Secure’ campaign targeting the general population and small to medium enterprises. We understand the Federal Government is developing a further campaign to raise awareness of cyber security, to be launched in 2021-22. For the sake of the Australian community, not just businesses, I hope the message gets through. Cyber attacks are not new but the threats that accompany them are becoming increasingly dangerous. It is beyond time for us all to take responsibility for protecting our people, businesses and critical infrastructure. With more than 20 years of experience in electronic warfare and cyber security, I have seen first hand the speed at which defensive technologies have grown and improved. The technology is there – we just need to use it.