More information sharing on cyber threats, says Abbott

The federal government wants private and public agencies to share more information about cyber threats in a bid to harden Australia’s online defenses.

It’s understood that the government’s information sharing policy was the most prominent of four key themes Prime Minister Tony Abbott discussed with chief executives of some of Australia’s largest businesses and organisations in Sydney yesterday.

In short statement regarding the meeting released late yesterday the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) said “cyber security is an issue for executives and boards, not just an IT issue for technical experts”.

A finance industry source told CSO Australia that partnerships between private and public sector agencies was one of the means to improve information sharing canvassed in the discussion.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s office confirmed that the meeting, which was sponsored by the Business Council of Australia, would play an important role the government’s cyber security review announced last November.

At the meeting, the Prime Minister gave audience to chairman and CEO-level executives from a broad range Australia’s top tier companies. It’s understood that representatives from ANZ, the ASX, BAE Systems Australia, Boeing, Coles, CBA, Deloitte Australia, Foxtel, KPMG, Rio Tinto, Optus, Telstra and Westpac attended the event.

It is understood that the organisations warned the Prime Minister that Australia’s IT security skills were in short supply.

In its statement, DPMC said that “growing Australia’s cyber security industry” was discussed at the meeting.

It’s understood that the government’s aim was for Australia to match the UK and become an exporter of online security products.

The federal government has consulted over 180 organisations as part of its six-month cyber security review.

The federal government has formed a panel of experts to complete the review, which Tony Abbott described as “long overdue”. The panel includes Telstra chief information security officer Mike Burgess, Dr Tobias Feakin director of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Cisco Systems chief security and trust officer Jennifer Westacott.

The federal government said it was close to revealing its cyber security strategy.

“The Cyber Security Strategy will be released in the coming months and is an important next step towards building a secure online economy for all Australians,” the prime minster’s department wrote.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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