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3.6 Cyber security

The department has a robust cyber operations capability, and continually reviews its processes, people and platforms to align with existing and potential cyber threats.

The last 12 months have reinforced the risks the department faces from malicious actors in cyberspace. Threats have continued to increase in both number and sophistication and are coming from a wide range of sources, including individuals, issue-motivated groups, organised criminal syndicates, and state-based and foreign government hackers.

The department addresses these threats by continually improving its ability to protect the extensive data and payment systems it administers. The capability of the Cyber Security Branch has expanded to over 250 staff with a wide range of technical and supporting skills. The department’s operations functions, including both intelligence and forensic areas, work 24/7 to provide rapid responses to emerging issues.

The department is also focusing on increasing the cyber security awareness of its workforce as an additional line of defence, as well as growing the cyber security ecosystem across both the government and private sectors. We conduct a number of community engagement activities as part of our effort to address the national cyber skills shortage, which is critical to ensure there is sufficient talent for both the department and our partners to draw upon.

The department works to identify, understand and reduce, wherever possible, the risk resulting from evolving cyber threats and changing technologies. Keeping pace with the continual change of tactics by potential adversaries requires us to conduct robust analysis of our own capabilities and upgrade, enhance, replace and decommission technologies in an agile and dynamic way. This is a critical function of the department.

In addition to continually strengthening its cyber security posture, the department is developing and implementing a range of cyber security shared services for other government agencies.