Australia and Japan to improve cyber defences

Australia and Japan have both outlined plans to bolster their cyber security defences.

Australia’s home affairs and cybersecurity minister Clare O’Neill has given the nation a goal of becoming the world’s most cyber secure nation by 2030.

“I believe that is possible. But we need a reset, and a pathway to get there,” the minister said in a speech late, in which she described the 2030 goal as the hoped-for outcome of a new cyber security strategy the government will develop.

The minister outlined four goals for that strategy: bringing the whole nation into the fight to protect citizens and our economy; strengthening critical infrastructure and government networks; building sovereign cyber security capabilities; and strengthening the country’s international engagement so Australia can be a global cyber leader, working in partnership with its Pacific neighbours to lift cyber security across our region.

Three Australians with relevant experience will define the strategy, which will be reviewed by former UK National Cyber Security Centre CEO and Oxford University professor Ciaran Martin.

Japan, meanwhile, is also revising its cyber security strategy, according to reports. Nikkei suggested that nation will reorganise its cyber defences, and implement a policy of pre-emptive attacks when warranted.

The Japanese government aims to make legislative changes so it can begin monitoring potential attackers and hack their systems as soon as signs of a potential risk are established.

Current laws make it extremely hard for such measures to be triggered unless after an emergency, which would require Japan defence forces being deployed after a military attack.

The plan is highlighted in an overview of proposed National Security Strategy revisions, which were submitted to the ruling coalition on Saturday. The revisions are poised to be approved by the cabinet before the end of the month.

Other countries have similar laws allowing governments to launch cyberattacks to destroy foreign systems when suspicious activities are detected.

As the frequency and scale of cyberattacks increase across the globe, the Japanese government says it sees an urgent need to align laws with the times.