update The federal government will spend AU$13.6 million over the next four years trying to protect consumers and businesses from "sophisticated and targeted attacks", according to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan.
In a statement issued this evening, Coonan said the government believes protecting home users and small businesses against electronic attacks is an "important priority".
"The e-security environment has changed significantly with an increase in more sophisticated and targeted attacks on home users and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
"This package of measures will provide Australians with the information and skills to improve their computer defences and ensure they stay smart online," said Coonan.
She said the money -- allocated from this year's federal budget -- will be spent establishing an annual "National E-security Awareness Week", expanding the Stay Smart Online Web site [www.staysmartonline.gov.au], creating an education module on e-security for schools, and helping "compromised users restore their computer security".
The government has defined its role as an educator, according to John Alfano, Deloitte's financial crimes director in forensic, who said that the actual dollar value is relatively small because the banks and other organisations are expected to play their part.
"It is a small number but it's targeted at how the government sees its role, which is about educating users.
"[Banks] provide education to their customers, the infrastructure around authentication and fraud resources. Their spending on this is increasing year by year," said Alfano.
However, Michael Warrilow, director of Sydney-based analyst firm Hydrasight, dismissed the announcement as "an election-year stunt".
"Why do they think this is going to work this time when they completely got the National Office for Information and Economy (NOIE) wrong last time?
"It provides absolutely negative $13.6 million of value," Warrilow said.
Meanwhile, content filtering software is set to become freely available from July as part of the government's program to combat offensive online content. The AU$93.3 million National Filter Scheme will see software from five vendors provided via a government portal. The vendors will be determined by a request for tender issued last week.