The Federal Government has indicated it will tap talent from the telecommunications and banking sectors to help it build up its so-called Cyber Reserve force, according to the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, Dan Tehan.
Launched in July, the unit is responsible for military cyber operations, military intelligence, joint electronic warfare, information operations and space operations, and will support the Australian Defence Force’s deployed personnel and systems.
“What we will be looking to is those people in industry who have the requisite skills,” Tehan said in an interview with ABC Radio. “So we know, for instance, when it comes to telecommunications and our banking sectors, that they have cyber people embedded who have very good skills, who we could call on in times of national emergency.
"So they would be the type of industry sectors we would be targeting as part of this reserve," he said.
When it comes to recruitment and testing, Tehan said the Government would likely focus on the strength of a potential candidate's IT skills rather than physical fitness.
When the unit launched in July, it had 100 staff, and this is expected to grow to 900 within the next ten years.
Tehan also revealed the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) 2017 Threat Report today, in which it will also discuss how a hacker gained access to a national security contractor’s system, stealing a significant amount of data last year. The ACSC was first notified of the breach in November.
Tehan said the malicious actor gained access to the network through exploiting an internet or public facing server, which was accessed using administrative credentials.
The hack victim was not revealed, but Tehan did say it was a small Australian company with contracting links to national security projects.
The ACSC indicated that in the last 12 months, it identified 47,000 cyber incidents, a 15 percent increase on last year. Due to email business compromise, losses have amounted to more than $20 million in 2016-17, up from $8.6 million in 2015-16, representing a 130 per cent increase.