Australia Launches Commonwealth Cybersecurity Initiative

The Commonwealth cybersecurity initiative mandates that federal bodies identify vulnerabilities and implement risk mitigation strategies.

by Ashish Khaitan July 9, 2024

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Australian Home Affairs Secretary Stephanie Foster has initiated a new initiative across commonwealth agencies aimed at fortifying Commonwealth cybersecurity against foreign threats. This directive, issued in response to escalating concerns over foreign interference and influence, mandates a thorough audit of all internet-facing technology used by nearly 200 government entities and associated companies.

The Commonwealth cybersecurity initiative, outlined in a series of formal instructions, requires each federal body to identify vulnerabilities and implement risk mitigation strategies. Notably, it mandates the sharing of cyber threat intelligence with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), enhancing collaborative efforts in safeguarding Commonwealth security.

Fortifying Commonwealth Cybersecurity

These directives, encapsulated under the Protective Service Policy Framework (PSPF), embody a proactive stance against potential risks posed by Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI). They compel government entities to scrutinize technology procurement and maintenance practices, ensuring alignment with national security interests.

This marks a pivotal step in Australia’s cybersecurity strategy,” remarked Sarah Sloan, head of government affairs at Palo Alto Networks in Australia. As custodians of critical infrastructure and sensitive data, government agencies play a pivotal role in national security.

Secretary Foster’s directives coincide with broader measures unveiled by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil to combat foreign interference threats across Australian society. The move highlights Australia’s commitment to bolstering cybersecurity resilience amidst a backdrop of increasing digital connectivity and global threats.

“Foreign interference occurs when activity carried out by, or on behalf of, a foreign power, is coercive, corrupting, deceptive or clandestine, and contrary to Australia’s sovereignty, values and national interests,” the directive explains.

Security Experts Collaborating on Cybersecurity Initiative

In light of these developments, cybersecurity experts have welcomed the directives as crucial to maintaining Australia’s position as a secure digital nation. The emphasis on comprehensive risk management and threat intelligence sharing reflects a proactive approach to safeguarding vital government functions and sensitive information.

As the digital landscape continues to expand with advancements like cloud adoption and remote work, robust cybersecurity measures are imperative. The Australian government’s proactive stance aims to mitigate potential risks, ensuring the integrity and security of its digital infrastructure.

Details regarding funding for these cybersecurity initiatives have yet to be disclosed. However, the directives have garnered support from leading figures in the cybersecurity community, affirming their significance in advancing national security goals.

The directives issued by Home Affairs Secretary Stephanie Foster highlight Australia’s commitment to cybersecurity vigilance with cybersecurity in the Commonwealth. By prioritizing threat mitigation and fostering collaboration through enhanced intelligence sharing, Australia aims to fortify its defenses against cyber threats and safeguard national interests well into the future.


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