The federal government has opened the new headquarters of the Australian Cyber Security Centre in Canberra, designed to be a central hub for cybersecurity information, advice, and assistance for Australians.
The purpose-built centre is equipped with advanced cyber threat detection and warning systems, the government said, to keep Australians safe from cyber threats, and will draw on expertise from the IT community, law enforcement, defence universities, security agencies, and international partners.
The centre aims to deliver on what the government calls its three cybersecurity priorities: Providing cybersecurity advice and assistance to businesses and the community; preventing and disrupting offshore cyber-enabled crime; and protecting the tools used to "fulfil functions" by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), which the centre has been integrated into.
"The centre will help us to collaborate and find joint solutions to the most complex cybersecurity challenges now and into the future," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the opening of the centre on Thursday morning. "This new facility will drive cyber resilience -- absolutely critical -- so that we can realise all of the promise of prosperity and opportunity in the digital age.
"We must ensure that we use all of our ingenuity, all of our innovation, all of our ability to collaborate with others to ensure that we keep Australians safe online, and this centre is a very bold step towards achieving that goal."
Turnbull added that that the new centre is in response to increasing cyber threats, such as phishing, malware, and denial-of-service attacks faced by government and businesses, as well as the increasingly connected nation.
"[The] Internet of Things has the potential to bring enormous economic opportunity. But it also means that cyber criminals have more ways to attack us where we are most vulnerable. Those vulnerabilities are compounded by a lack of cyber awareness across a range of industries and even government agencies, on the importance of implementing basic cyber-hygiene practices," the prime minister said.
"By working together, government, law enforcement, and industry partners strengthen our nation's cyber resilience right across our economy. It's critical in a world where new threats are always emerging.
"The warnings from our agencies on the threat are very stark. We have to strengthen our defences. We must strengthen our cooperation, which is why we're all here today."
The federal government added that its new cyber.gov.au website will replace a number of government cybersecurity websites and services, including ACORN and acsc.gov.au, to provide Australians with one place to report cybercrime and find advice on cybersecurity.
The new centre forms a "critical hub" for the Joint Cyber Security Centres located in capital cities. Under the program, five cybersecurity-focused centres in the country's capital cities are aimed at boosting cybersecurity resilience by bringing industry, government, and law enforcement together to share relevant threat information under one roof.
The Perth centre was launched last month, offering support to Australia's business community, particularly the west's energy and resource sector. The Perth centre was the fourth to open, following the centres in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Turnbull announced the country's cybersecurity strategy back in April 2016, at the time saying it was aimed at defending the nation's cyber networks from organised criminals and state-sponsored attackers. The strategy sits alongside the AU$400 million provided in the Defence White Paper for cyber activities.
The Australian government considers itself to be "world-leading" when it comes to cybersecurity, according to Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor.
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