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Oz Cabinet Rejig To Open Door For Anti-Ransom Push

CANBERRA: Scott Morrison will set up  a new cyber security role as part of a Cabinet reshuffle next month, following the departure of Mathias Cormann. His move follows recent incursions at Toll, Service NSW, BlueScope Steel and My Budget, among others, within which – to the Government’s fury – the ransomware attackers in many cases appeared to face little opposition.

The Prime Minister announced that the new role will be tagged to the Home Affairs portfolio, tasked with overseeing cyber security legislation and the rollout of the Government’s long-standing but little-known cyber-security strategy.

Cathie Reid, deputy chairwoman of the Government’s industry advisory committee guiding the rollout of the new strategy, said all companies should be on notice.

“A successful sustained cyberattack on a critical infrastructure asset such as an energy grid in NSW could cause consequential and cascading consequences across the country – and into other sectors reliant on that energy grid – shutting down financial services and hospitals in Queensland,” Reid said.

The proposed laws, if passed, will provide powers allowing national security agencies to step in and support industries in disrupting and repelling cyber attackers; and cover the health, banking, finance, food and grocery, transport, energy, water, communications, space, higher education, research and defence industry sectors.

Separately, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority put banks on notice on Thursday, calling on banking boards to apply the same urgency to cyber risks as they do to credit and liquidity threats.

Figures from the PriceWaterhouseCoopers group estimate the cost for Australian businesses to address security breaches at a cool $7.6 billion.

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