​Data61, Cyber London sign security partnership

Data61 and Cyber London have signed an agreement to develop programs that will support and accelerate 'cyber innovation' in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Data61 has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cyber London (CyLon) that will see Australia and the United Kingdom share expertise, resources, and capital to accelerate cybersecurity innovation in each country.

Under the agreement, the two organisations will develop programs for improved "cyber skills and governance"; launch a CyLon accelerator program in Australia; and support and commercialise new ideas, including building a physical and virtual environment in each country to showcase "cyber innovation and solutions" to prospective partners or buyers.

The partnership comes after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged AU$30 million through 2019-20 as part of the federal government's AU$1.1 billion National Science and Innovation Agenda to establish a new industry-led Cyber Security Growth Centre in a bid to grow and strengthen Australia's cybersecurity industry.

At the time, the government estimated the global cybersecurity market was worth more than $71 billion and said it was growing at approximately 8 percent every year.

"A Cyber Security Growth Centre will ensure that Australia is a global industry leader, able to export products and services in the global marketplace while helping Australian businesses and governments to address the growing threat of cybercrime," the government said.

"The new Cyber Security Growth Centre will bring together industry, researchers, and governments to create a national cybersecurity innovation network; develop a national strategy for Australia's cybersecurity industry to become a global leader and attract investment from multinationals; and coordinate cybersecurity research and innovation to reduce overlap and maximise impact."

During the D61+ event on Wednesday hosted by Data61, the new organisation that was formed by the merger of NICTA with CSIRO, Atlassian's company director of security Craig Davies announced the company is keen to invest in cybersecurity in Australia, following on from setting up its cybersecurity centre in Austin, Texas, two years ago. Last year Atlassian hired 80 graduates in Australia, assigning three to security.

Davies highlighted the cybersecurity skills shortage in Australia is holding back growth for companies like Atlassian.

"I'd really like to see the students that come in already have that mindset of: 'This is the flaw, and this is what I can do to take advantage of it -- or more importantly, how I can join those together to create havoc and mayhem'," he said.

"I'm looking for that puzzle-solving ability, but they've got to learn aggressive techniques. They can't all just learn defence and theoretical. They've got to learn the bad side of it as well, to understand how to defend against it -- and more importantly, not just defend, but identify earlier in the cycle so the architectures become more robust."

At the start of the year, the Australian government strengthened its cybersecurity ties with long term ally the United States, announcing the two nations would hold an annual Australia-US Cyber Security Dialogue.

The annual dialogue will be jointly convened by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the US Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and will engage senior representatives from both countries' business, academic, and government sectors to discuss common cyber threats, promote cybersecurity innovation, and shape new business opportunities.

"We will continue to work closely together to ensure the internet remains open, free, and secure by promoting peacetime 'norms' for cyberspace," Turnbull said at the time.

"Like the US, Australia supports a cyberspace in which nations abide by international law and their behaviour is supported by agreed norms -- or standards for appropriate conduct.

"Such standards will lead to practical confidence building measures that help to reduce the incidence of malicious cyber activity and the risk of conflict."

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