Thursday, 10 December 2020 11:48

Govt lagging badly on cyber-security measures, Labor says Featured

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Govt lagging badly on cyber-security measures, Labor says Pixabay

Only a quarter of Commonwealth entities have implemented the top four cyber security measures recommended by the Australian Signals Directorate six years after they became mandatory, an auditor's report says.

The indictment came from the government-controlled Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.

Labor shadow cyber security minister Tim Watts said in a statement: "This failure is so bad that the committee found a new and unprecedented oversight regime is needed to ensure our vital government services and the data of Australian citizens they hold are appropriately protected at a time of dramatically increasing cyber threats.

"It comes after years of staggeringly high rates of non-compliance from the Commonwealth Government with its own cyber security framework."

Watts, along with JCPAA deputy chair Julian Hill, said a report on the government's own Cyber Security Posture in 2019 found that implementations of the ASD directives "remains at low levels across the Australian Government".

Watts and Hill pointed out that the auditor-general had shone a light on these ongoing failures, saying in his mid-term report that, “with cyber security being an area of government priority for many years, these findings are disappointing”.

"Despite this warning, the Morrison Government has failed to do the basics," the two Labor parliamentarians said.

"The prime minister has never missed a photo op on his many announcements when it comes to talking about the cyber security threats facing our nation. But he hasn’t been there for the follow-up to ensure cyber resiliency inside his government in the face of these increasing threats.

"At the same time, the government has introduced legislation that imposes significant obligations on private sector companies to significantly lift their cyber security practices and behaviours.

"It’s another case of do as I say, not as I do from the Morrison Government. Now that Parliament has done the prime minister’s job for him, he must immediately accept and act on this report’s recommendations."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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