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Australian cyber experts to set national security agenda at ECU

Monday, 27 January 2020


Edith Cowan University will welcome Australia's top cyber security experts to Perth this week to discuss how to protect Australians from cyber threats.

Sixty of the nation's brightest cyber security minds will descend on Perth this Wednesday for the Cyber 2020 Forum, part of Australia's 2020 Cyber Security Strategy.

Delegates will participate in high-level strategy discussions designed to keep government, businesses and families safe online.

Department of Home Affairs Secretary, Mr Michael Pezzullo, will deliver the keynote address at the Forum.

"The magnitude of the digital threats faced by Australians has increased. They will become more acute as our society and economy become increasingly connected. As the threat evolves, so too must our response," Secretary Pezzullo said.

Cybercrime is a growing cost to the Australian economy, with the overall impact on businesses estimated to be in the billions of dollars every year.

Keeping the cyber threat at bay

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Chapman said it was vital Australia stayed ahead of the curve on cyber.

"The threat of online adversaries is ever evolving. As a community we need to stay ahead of those threats," Professor Chapman said.

The Cyber 2020 Forum is being held at ECU – home to the $140 million-dollar Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, a collaboration between industry, government and the research sector.

"ECU's cyber security research and education team is one of the best in Australia and one of the leading groups in the world," Professor Chapman said.

"We are pleased to host the Cyber 2020 Forum alongside the Department of Home Affairs, a true reflection of our position among global leaders in the field of cyber security."

Head of Australia's Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, Rachael Falk, said the Cyber 2020 Forum was critical to ensuring the government can meet the challenges of the digital age.

"It is essential that we take this opportunity to have robust debate with the best and brightest around how best to predict, protect and detect threats against individuals, businesses and critical infrastructure," Ms Falk said.

"This requires close collaboration between industry, government and the research sector."

Setting future directions for the nation

The Cyber 2020 Forum will assist government in the creation of a new national cyber strategy, which will be the successor to the 2016 Cyber Security Strategy.

Follow up public consultations on the Cyber Security Strategy are being held across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane this week.

The Perth forum will focus on four themes including emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities and how best to build cyber skills in the economy. The Secretary for the Department of Home Affairs will deliver the Forum's keynote address.

Secretary Pezzullo said: "This will set the tone for a series of thought-provoking discussions among leaders of industry, academia and Government on how to best place Australia to meet the challenges and reap the benefits of the online environment."

One of those challenges is the skills shortage in the cyber security sector. It is expected that over the next decade, Australia will need more than 60,000 skilled professionals to fill the looming employment gap in the cyber security industry.

Edith Cowan University is one of only two Australian universities recognised by the Australian Federal Government as an Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE) to address the national shortage of highly skilled cyber security professionals.

"We have one of the fastest growing cyber security programs in the country to meet the appetite for experts in this field," Professor Chapman said.


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