Security of information provided to the ABS is key to maintaining the high levels of trust that enable the ABS to operate effectively and fulfil its mission. In June 2019 the Information Security Branch was merged into a new Security and Infrastructure Branch to bolster the operational governance of the ABS computer network.
The ABS’ statistical work programs rely on information technology (IT) systems, and the ABS invests in significant security controls and risk assurance functions to support these systems. The Security and Infrastructure Branch collaborates with relevant business areas to ensure systems monitoring, security assessments and management of IT-related risks are consistent with the ABS’ operational and risk management requirements. Security controls and risk assurance functions are supported by a regular testing regime, informed by expert security services including Australian Government cyber intelligence entities.
All ABS premises are physically secured against unauthorised access. Entry is through electronically controlled access systems, activated by individually coded access cards and monitored by closed circuit television. Areas of the ABS producing particularly sensitive data, such as market sensitive statistics, are subject to further protective security assurances including additional personnel security background checks.
The ABS computer network has a secure gateway which allows connection to internet services including the ABS website. The secure gateway was established in accordance with Australian Government guidelines and is reviewed bi-annually by an accredited independent assessor endorsed by the Australian Signals Directorate. Access to ABS computing systems is based on personal identifiers and strong authentication services. Databases are accessible only by approved users. The computer systems are regularly monitored and usage is audited. There were no unauthorised access incidents into ABS computing systems during 2018–19.
The ABS is taking a strong approach to ensure the security of the upcoming Census in 2021. Drawing on the MacGibbon Review of the incidents surrounding the Census in 2016, and other insights, the ABS has enacted additional security governance measures, ensuring security is built into all systems that will support the taking of the Census in 2021.