Cyber strategy light on detail, but clear on more commercial espionage by agencies

The government’s melodramatic new cybersecurity strategy is embarrassingly vague — but points to dramatic new powers for intelligence agencies to spy on Australians and engage in commercial espionage.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

The key message from the government on cybersecurity is that we all need to be very afraid — so afraid that we don’t need to know too much about what extra powers are to be given to security agencies to “defend” Australians.

After months of delay, yesterday the government finally released its new cybersecurity strategy, developed by the Department of Home Affairs.

The Department of Home Affairs itself has a shocking record on cybersecurity: it has been repeatedly criticised over several years by both the Australian National Audit Office and parliament’s Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit for failing to comply with the Australian Signals Directorate’s (ASD) cybersecurity mitigation strategies.

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