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Quantum computing, one area in which Australia has niche capabilities, may lead to ultra-secure telecommunications in the future Image: Swinburne University
22 February 2017

With the launch of the Cyber Security Industry Capability Report and a new program to boost skills in cyber security the Australian Government highlights the increasing threat of cyber attacks on Australia.

The cost of global cybercrime, estimated at US$3 trillion in 2015, is set to further increase over the coming years. But Australia may soon lack the skills to address the challenge.

According to the Government, nearly one in five cyber security jobs may go unfilled by 2020. To encourage specialised training of more cyber security professionals, it recently announced a new $1.9 million initiative designed as part of the $230 million Cyber Security Strategy. Under the new program universities can apply to be recognised as Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE) if they provide high level cyber security training, research capability and have strong connections to the business sector.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said that the program aims to attract more Australians to cyber security jobs by supporting universities that provide the training up of professionals in the area.

However, a new report by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission highlights that the growing threat of cyber crime could also harbour opportunities for Australia.

We have relatively strong research capacity in niche areas of cyber security, such as quantum technology, wireless technology and trustworthy systems.

One example is the seL4 kernel developed by CSIRO’s Data 61 provides the to date strongest operating system security. It runs at the core of a computer’s operating system and provides secure software compartments with the capacity to isolate and contain faults and cyber attacks.

Data61 is also partnering with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST), which has developed new approaches for the trustworthy use of commercial hardware. An example for this is the Digital Video Guard, a harware-based solution that uses encrypted images to securely transport sensitive information through untrustworthy networks and computers./p>

We are also strong in quantum computing. For example, Swinburne University has set a new record for the complexity possible on a quantum computing chip which could lead to ultra-secure telecommunications in the future.

Around $80 million is being directed into the cyber security as one of nine national Science Research Priority Areas. In addition, the Department of Defence has announced $12 million in funding for a new purpose-built facility at the Australian National University (ANU) to improve Australia’s cyber security.

Once completed it will enable ANU and Defence to collaborate on research in areas including high performance computing, data analytics and cyber security.

In addition to strong research, the report also highlights a range of innovations from Australian companies. Ranging from innovative startups through to multinational organisations, these companies have expertise in identity management, encryption, wireless technologies and trustworthy systems.

One example is Quintessential Lab. The company is producing quantum security solutions, including a random number generator that is based on quantum physics, and is part of a security platform to encrypt and protect digital data.