The Australian government on Monday announced an overhaul of its cyber security strategy following a string of major data breaches.
Clare O’Neil, the Minister for Home Affairs, revealed the renewed strategy, saying the 2022 Optus and Medibank hacks exposed flaws in cyber laws, reports Xinhua news agency.
A new national coordinator for cyber security will be appointed by the government within the Department of Home Affairs to lead the implementation of the strategy, with the government given more powers to intervene following breaches.
Telecommunications giant Optus revealed in September last year that the data of up to 9.8 million customers could have been compromised in one of the largest data breaches in Australian history.
A month later, health insurance provider Medibank disclosed that hackers had accessed the personal information of 9.7 million current and former customers.
In the wake of the incidents the Labor government, which came to power in May 2022, expressed frustration at the lack of an emergency response function.
O’Neil said on Monday that having the national coordinator in place at the time would have made a significant difference.
“What we will have now is an individual in the public service who is going to coordinate the response across government and make sure that not only are we deterring and preventing cyber-attacks, but Australians can get up off that quickly,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The other really important part of this person’s job will be to help manage cyber incidents in a proper, seamless strategic way across the Australian government.”
The government hopes to appoint someone to the new role within a month to develop a response plan.
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