The federal Attorney General's Department
has weathered more than one million hacking attempts over the
last four years by not taking short-cuts in policy, its chief
information officer said.
Graham Fry cited the figure in a speech to an Australian
Computer Society conference in Canberra in which he outlined ways
he coped with the pressures and contradictions of servicing
information policy developers.
"Much of my job is not good old-fashioned 'command and
control' management," Fry said. "It is about influencing and
"It is about delivering without some of the shortcuts that
would make life simpler," he said.
"Security policy can be a nuisance, but despite our small
size, we have survived well over a million hacking attempts in
the time I have been at Attorney General's," he said.
Fry told ZDNet Australia today he suspected the figure of "over a million" hacks in the given time frame was "not that unusual" for a government department.
"I suspect it's a bit higher because of our associations with various areas of policy, but I'd say it's on the high-side of normal. It's not outstanding."
The Attorney-General's information technology infrastructure
holds various levels of government security accreditation in line
with government security standards and the department plays a
major role in critical infrastructure protection measures.
The department -- which supports Attorney-General Philip
Ruddock and the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris
Ellison -- covers a host of high-profile responsibilities,
including human rights, freedom of information, legal aid, native
title and counter-terrorism capabilities.
In his speech, entitled Working on Both Sides of the
Counter: The dilemma of servicing information policy
developers, Fry outlined a series of initiatives he had
undertaken to improve the management of information technology
within the department and forge closer relationships with other
This greater trust - developed by measures such as publishing
a performance account to the department every six months and
sitting on its executive committee -- had led to the information
technology group taking on a more prominent role in representing
the department externally, he said.
"We are taking a lead role with the state/Commonwealth
disaster management portal," Fry said.
"We have been asked increasingly to represent policy interests
at the federal government's CIO committee.
"Two-thirds of my technical staff are deployed during the two
multi-jurisdictional counter-terrorism exercises (Mercury '04 and
"We are frequently asked to attend industry consultation and
inter-departmental committees to assist with technical policy