Australia to spend nearly $1 billion on cyber security during next decade

Australia will spend A$1.35 billion ($926.1 million) over the next 10 years to boost its cyber security defenses, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said, as Canberra seeks to combat a wave of attacks. The announcement comes just weeks after Australia said a “sophisticated state-based actor” has been attacking all levels of the government, political bodies, essential service providers and operators of critical infrastructure.

Although Australia has declined to say who it believed was responsible for the attacks, three sources briefed on the matter said the country believed China was responsible, a suggestion swiftly dismissed by Beijing.

“The federal government’s top priority is protecting our nation’s economy, national security and sovereignty. Malicious cyber activity undermines that,” Morrison said in a statement. The package will include A$470 million to hire an extra 500 security experts in the Australian Signals Directorate, the country’s cyber intelligence agency.

The funding is part of a A$15 billion investment in cyber warfare capabilities, a plan that was accelerated after an electronic attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in 2019, Australia’s Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said,

Australia has never publicly disclosed who was responsible for the hack that came just months before an election, but it was reported late last year that the country’s intelligence agencies quietly determined China was responsible for that cyber-attack. China denies that it was responsible for the attack.