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Department of Defence security training needed: analyst

Hamish Barwick | May 6, 2013
Skills required if Australia is to become an APAC cyber security leader according to industry observers

Prime Minister Julia Gillard launches the Department of Defence White Paper on 4 May.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard launches the Department of Defence White Paper on 4 May.

The focus on cyber security in the Department of Defence's White Paper is a good start but retraining and upgrading skills that are in short supply at present is needed according to one security analyst.

The paper, which was released on 4 May, said that the potential impact of malicious cyber activity has grown with Defence's increasing reliance on networked operations.

"In a future conflict or escalation to conflict, an adversary could use a cyber attack against Australia to deter, delay or prevent Australia's response or the Australian Defence Force's deployment of forces," read the report.

Defence admits that there is a "significant" body of work to be done to ensure the security of defence systems against cyber attacks.

"Network and system management, along with personnel and physical security need to be strengthened as part of our response," the white paper states.

IDC Australia senior market analyst Vern Hue said that Australia is in a unique political and technological position to become a regional player in the Asia Pacific cyber security space.

"Cyber security, being one of the key priorities outlined in the white paper, will require retraining and upgrading in skills that are sparse and unique at present," Hue said.

According to Hue, Defence needs to train a new breed of security analysts to meet the realities of the advanced threat landscape that enterprises and government organisations are dealing with on a daily basis.

"I think there should be a closer linkage between the security vendors and the government. This allows us to pool together technology and know-how to combat threats," he said.

In addition, Defence needs to look beyond relationship building with the US and expand co-operation with other countries, said Hue.

"The European Union is a good place to start as there has been a great level of investment and attention paid by the creation of the EU Convention on Cybercrime. I also believe that there is scope and space to develop more relationship with the British and Japanese too."

He said that the formation of these alliances will help Australia improve its intelligence capabilities, with the country is an attractive target for malicious cyber attacks.

IBRS advisor James Turner said it was interesting that the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) was being renamed the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

"This is an acknowledgement of the valuable contribution that the DSD has made in the last few years with the release of its Top 35 Mitigationstrategies," he said.


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