With the growth in technology and everything now being changed to digital, it is a boon and bane for mankind. No doubt it has made our lives easier and for our future generations as well where knowledge and opportunities wouldn't be any constraints in their growth, but along with that we all have never been this vulnerable as we are now. Where we talk about equality and harmony amongst ourselves, there is a huge sect of us who all under constant surveillance and every movement of ours is being watched. This has resulted in our confidential and personal data being breached and our security being compromised. Web apps and any online website are being callous about our security and it is they who are the major conspirators. On one hand, they assure us that our data and our confidential details are encrypted and are not being misused, but on the other hand, they are not able to their servers from being hacked as that is the only source where the hackers can avail all personal information of the users.
Australia has been an advent believer of curbing the cyberattacks on its people. In dates back in 2000 when the Howard Government raised Defence2000: Our Future Defence Force program. It was seeing this that in 2009 the Rudd government made cybersecurity a national priority and established Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), now called Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). Pursuant to this, it was in 2011 that USA and Australia allied the ministerial talks of AUSMIN where both consented to ANZUS treaty where they both shall be playing a crucial role in combating cyber attacks.
So it would be not wrong to conclude that Australia has been quite vigorous in combating the cybersecurity of its subjects. It has set up an online reporting network system called ACRON, for consumer intelligence to report and any cybercrime or any new kinds of threat that persists the people. It is a national agency to fight against cybercrime. It serves as a platform where both the people and the organization could report their concerns relating to cybercrime. Its jurisdiction is in the whole of the territory of Australia, be it national or territorial. Another one is ACSC (Australia Cybercrime Security Centre) which provides the course of action for various organisation how to protect their assets and avoid the risks or threats. It provides risk management assurance and both a hub for public and private people. For any inconsistency, they report to CERT (Computer Emergency and Response Team). This organisation conducts various awareness programs for people, organizations and governments. It works in harmony with the Department of Home Affairs to craft any new law in relation to the cybercrime (Barker et al, 2019).
Legal, Legislative and Regulatory Environment
the legislature of Australia had enacted a specific computer-related offence in 1989 as recommended by the Review of Commonwealth Criminal Law Committee. This was repealed by the CyberCrime Act 2001 by including Part 10.7 in the Criminal Code Act 1955. The major offences include unauthorized access and modification or impairment of data in computer and others, to name a few. The Cyber Crime Act had made amendments in the Crime Act 1914 and Customs Act 1901 to be at par with the technological changes. These amendments made sure that the law enforcement officers had the power and jurisdiction to search necessary electronic devices and gather evidence, when necessary. Recently the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (TOLA) amended the powers of the officers in the Crime Act and Customs Act to increase the ambit of search powers of the officers. Not just nationally, the government also complied with the norms of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime also known as Budapest Convention in 2012. It was the first international treaty to attack the rising crimes against the computer networks, and criminalize such conducts which are offensive, have certain jurisdictions and maintain harmony with other participating countries.
In 2013 they formed their first National Plan To Combat Cybercrime. The government prioritise 6 sectors in it-
They also believe in ensuring that this discrepancy is washed down from other countries as well and hence in 2017 they released an Australia's International Cyber Engagement Strategy for the rise in cases in Indo-Pacific regions; helping countries to make their cyber laws to be more stringent; building cybercrime investigation amongst the countries etc.
Critical Analysis of Cyber-Security in Australia
Any cybersecurity incident wears down the trust of the people on its government. This leads to low investment and business confidence among people. In other words, cyber insecurity is a burden in the growth of the government. Globally the loss from cyber insecurity is as much as 1% of GDP, costing Australia around $17 billion per year. With the increase in the number of usage of internet and computer systems, it is supposedly quite impossible for any government to monitor the working of such systems. It is estimated at across 3 billion people access the internet on a daily basis which raises the coverage for the hackers and the intruders (ITU, 2014). This is something which cannot be restained and no government shall think of doing it, except precarious situation. For example like in India when after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government disconnected any kind of the internet and mobile services in the region for safety purposes.
In Australia, each year there have been data breaches of businesses. It has risen 12 positions in the latest Comparitech ranking out of 76 countries (Braue, 2020). Records state that nearly 4.86% of mobile phones were attacked by malware just as much as twice the rate of Denmark, Turkey, Norway and Croatia. Sometimes it is small sometimes huge, but despite being so proactive in curbing this hole, it somehow manages to outdo the legislative mechanism of the country. Recently, the Australian Department of Education, with the largest Australian user base suffered a major data leak. Alon Gal, the chief technology officer at cybersecurity intelligence said the data leaked was from the education department of the country. The hacked data contained about a million information of the teachers, students, staff including their emails, names and passwords (Henry, 2020).
Situations have worsened when during the COVID period, hackers and cybercriminals have attacked the innocent people through phishing scams. They have benefitted from people's anxieties and deceiving them by sending malicious emails and imposing as imposters as being health agents. They have majorly attached the hospitals and medical research centres databases Toll group, Melbourne global logistics company has been knocked twice by the ransomware attack in January and then again in May (McGibbon, 2020). Things are not just restricted to businesses but government agencies like ServiceNSW and financial services like MyBudget as well (McGibbon, 2020).
In order to sum it up, despite being so systematic and stringent with the policies against cyber insecurities, the hackers are much more advanced and over-empowering the whole system of Australia. It is not just Australia, but of the world. Clearly, something is going missed that a person sitting behind another system, miles away is able to hack the servers of the government organisations and companies by some few codes. These hackers are supposed to majorly college dropouts as they want to preserve their identities. Hence no records of them could be found, whatsoever. Their systems, their knowledge of coding is somehow more than a collaboration of the team of technical-governmental experts.
To conclude, clearly the steps taken against this cyber insecurity is not enough. These hackers are humans and are fine in what they work. There have been some reason why they tend to target people's businesses or governmental sites. It is not just for fun as who could be so insane to invest tons of amounts of money to form a system and use it for hacking. Just like civil and criminal offenders are given a chance to change their lives by giving them counselling and sending them to rehabilitations, the international community must find out the reason behind their conduct. The only way to stop them is to make them a part of their team. The reason is today there could be one or a group of 10 people who could get tracked and be held criminally liable. But this is not just a work of one team. It is cult-work. The unfinished business shall be finished by their other colleagues. Therefore, it is suggestible to use such minds for the benefit of the country and not prosecuting them for a crime.
Furthermore, the traditional way could be to keep updating and installing the new and latest software and recruit technical experts with a much more comprehensive experience. As long as things are happening digitally, this risk is going to existent perpetually.
Barker, C., Biddington, M., Brangwin, N., Castro-Portillo, H. & Wils, T. (2019). Cybersecurity, cybercrime and cybersafety: A quick guide to key internet links. Retrieved from https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1819/Quick_Guides/CybersecurityCybercrimeCybersafety
International Telecommunication Union. (2014). ICT facts and figures. Retrieved from https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2014-e.pdf
Henry, J. (2020). Large Australian education data leak traced to third-party service. Retrieved from https://www.itnews.com.au/news/large-australian-education-data-leak-traced-to-third-party-service-552781
McGibbon, A. (2020). Recent cyberattacks just the tip of the iceberg for Australia. Retrieved from https://www.afr.com/technology/recent-cyber-attacks-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-for-australia-20200515-p54thf
Braue, D. (2020). Australia shoots up in cybersecurity rankings. Retrieved from https://ia.acs.org.au/article/2020/australia-shoots-up-in-cybersecurity-rankings.html
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