National cybercrime plan launched

July 30, 2013

The federal government has unveiled a new national cybercrime plan in an effort to ensure better vulnerability management across the country.

Attorney-general Mark Dreyfus and parliamentary secretary to the attorney-general Shayne Neumann announced the framework yesterday (July 29), which will aim to boost collaboration when tackling malicious online attacks.

This plan will make Australia a more difficult target for sophisticated cyber criminals, Mr Dreyfus confirmed.

"While it brings tremendous benefits, the internet has created new opportunities for financially motivated cyber criminals and those who seek to target vulnerable members of our community," he stated.

"Organised criminals are increasingly using the internet and legitimate communications tools to target Australians and to facilitate their illegal activities."

The attorney-general said the framework will represent a nationwide commitment to providing a more secure digital environment for the country's inhabitants.

No official figures are available, Mr Neumann claimed, but estimates put the cost of cybercrime in Australia in the billions of dollars annually.

The National Plan to Combat Cybercrime will operate on six key foundations, including educating the community, partnering with industry, boosting information sharing and strengthening international engagement.

Mr Neumann remarked: "As a key initiative under the National Plan to Combat Cybercrime, governments will implement a national online reporting facility for cybercrime."

The facility will be named the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

"ACORN will make it easier for the public to report cybercrime, get the information they need to protect themselves and ensure that agencies can respond quickly," Mr Neumann continued.

He said this will allow the government to gain a better idea of how badly cybercrime is affecting the average Australian, enabling agencies to formulate improved strategies for tackling the issue.

According to the government, it is vital that the country's criminal justice framework keeps pace with any technological developments.

The National Plan to Combat Cybercrime aims to build on the National Security Strategy initiative, which identified malicious online actors as a central concern to Australia's economic and social health.

The attorney-general's office said the scheme will also support Australia's end goal of being a world-leading digital economy within the next seven years.

Earlier this year, the country entered the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime – the first international treaty to tackle online threats.

By becoming a party to the treaty, Australia will now be able to collaborate more effectively with other countries to develop its own cybercrime policies.