Combating cyber attacks against businesses and governments will deliver an economic boom to Australia, with the workforce needing to grow by more than a third to well over 30,000 employees for the industry to meet its full potential.
Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan will on Wednesday look at the upside of the threat posed by cybercrime and attacks by urging organisations to invest in protecting IT systems to deliver “cyber dividends”.
In an address to a cyber security conference in Singapore, Mr Tehan will also demand countries toughen up their laws against online attacks, warning that financial services and critical infrastructure, such as water and electricity supplies that often cross borders, were vulnerable to virtual hijacking.
“Our interconnectedness means that it is in all our interests to support the cyber security of our neighbours – only then can we be protected from attacks,” Mr Tehan will say according to speech notes.
“Cyber criminals will seek out countries and jurisdictions with little cybercrime legislation. They will target them to see how they can use these countries in order to launch attacks on the networks of more advanced countries.
“The weakest link in the chain will become the refuge for cyber criminals or the target of cyber attacks not as an end but as a means.”
Eight of the 10 countries most threatened by malicious cyber activity are in Asia, according to Mr Tehan, with some experiencing more than double the world’s average number of malware attacks.
To guard against threats, spending on cyber security is projected to rise to more than US$30 billion by 2020, with Mr Tehan arguing it is vital to national security and economic prosperity to “cash in on the coming cyber boom”.
“Every time as governments or as businesses we the impact of cybercrime or cyber-attacks, we should be seeing an opportunity for our countries to create jobs and products to fix the problem,” he will say.
“The money we can save or save the economy in these attacks is the cyber security dividend. The jobs that we would create or the businesses that will be made from developing our cyber security industry are the cyber security dividend.”
To illustrate the local opportunities, 19,000 people are employed in Australia’s cyber security industry. Based on business-as-usual, 7000 jobs will be added over the next decade, potentially reaching 13,000 if priority areas are successfully targeted.
“To grow our industry in Australia to its full potential we will need to grow that number even further,” Mr Tehan will say.