Oz, US aim for cyber shields, not weapons

Oz, US aim for cyber shields, not weapons

Summary: In an interview yesterday, Australian Minister of Defence Stephen Smith said that Australia will be taking a defensive stance towards cybersecurity.

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In an interview yesterday, Australian Minister of Defence Stephen Smith said that Australia will be taking a defensive stance towards cybersecurity.

Weapons

(Credit: Customs)

Following recent visits by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Smith said that Australia will be developing cybersecurity measures with the US as part of a joint-defence agreement that gives America access to Australian military ports, bases and facilities.

"We're looking at very much the defensive, to use the jargon, a defensive posture here," said Smith in an interview with ABC 24 yesterday, after he was asked whether the government will be developing "weapons" to ward off cyber attacks.

For the time being, Australia's action will be to develop international standards.

"We're working closely with America, seeing what we can do to try and develop international norms on the use of cyberspace and attacks in cyberspace," he said.

Smith wanted to bring Australia's "expertise" to the table in working with the United States.

"We're trying to see whether we can, together with the United States, bring our own expertise to try and develop some international practices and international norms that will serve nations well, but also serve individuals and companies well."

However, cyberspace isn't the only concern for both nations, with Smith acknowledging that cooperative action was needed in space as well to deal with space junk and debris.

"We know we have a particular problem in terms of space — one is space debris or space junk — and that needs to, in a sense, be regulated, but secondly, as our whitepaper in 2009 showed, space is now a strategic issue," said Smith.

"It's not possible for Australia to do it by ourselves, so obviously there is advantage in us partnering with the United States on space awareness, space surveillance and space issues. So we're going to work very closely on that."

Topics: Government, Government AU

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