“In Australia, a 200% increase in ransomware attacks has introduced a steady stream of stories in the media,” said Tim Watts MP who is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications and Cyber Security at the Cyber West Summit.
Addressing approximately 600 participants over the two-day conference that is being hosted at the Pan Pacific Perth, Australia, Watts started his speech by quoting former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who was also a keynote speaker at the summit saying that, “There’s never been a more exciting time in cybersecurity” and this statement has never been truer as CrowdStrike’s 2020 Global Security Attitude Survey revealed that Australia is one of the world’s hottest targets of ransomware attacks.
ESPC2go.com, in an earlier report had stated that Australians lost a record-breaking $851 million to scams in 2020 as cyber criminals took advantage of the global COVID-19 pandemic to con vulnerable users. Watts further added that ransomware incidents affecting hospitals, logistics firms, media companies, and political parties amongst others have revealed the reality of cybersecurity risk to the general public.
“It has become apparent that cybersecurity has gone mainstream. In this context, I have spent a good portion of my time as a Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security calling for a national ransomware strategy to align the government’s policies response to be tailor-made to cybersecurity challenges. Across policy, regulation, law enforcement, to privacy and defense,” said Watts who has been an active advocate on issues ranging from family violence, Australian aid, cyber security, refugee and asylum policy, cycling and Australia’s engagement with Asia.
He further expounded that all that time spent has finally paid off as he is pleased that the government has now joined the debate on how to respond to this challenge by restoring the dedicated role of cybersecurity in the ministry with the appointment of Andrew Hasting to this position late last year.
Always the optimistic person Watts acknowledged that despite the media attention given to the drama of cybersecurity incidences, he would prefer to focus on the opportunity for Australia and Western Australia in particular from this new environment.
Once again quoting the former Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull who said in the Risky Business Podcast last year that cybersecurity is a huge opportunity, he wants to see more companies, agencies, and individuals tapping into this new prospect.
“The threat brings the opportunity. The global cybersecurity spending has increased to 150.5 billion dollars in 2021, which is a 21% increase in the past two years. That is a 150 billion dollar opportunity for companies and countries to grow business and to create more jobs during the Covid-19 recovery period,” enthused Watts.
Australia and in particular Western Australia is ideally blessed to capitalize on this opening. This is aligned with the Australian Government having launched the Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020. The Strategy will invest $1.67 billion to build new cyber security and law enforcement capabilities, assist industry to protect themselves and raise the community’s understanding of how to be secure online.
Security is a whole-of-community effort, in which everyone will have a role to play.