Australia to Deploy Cyber Experts to Pacific Islands

The government has allocated $26 million for the setup of "rapid assistance" teams that will respond to cyber crises in the Pacific.
30 November 2023
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The Australian government has announced plans to send teams of cyber experts to Pacific Island nations to combat the increasing threat of online attacks from criminal organizations and hostile states. Worries about the vulnerability of the Pacific region to cyber attacks have grown, while questions are raised about Australia's own ability to defend against similar threats.

Under a new cyber security strategy, the federal government has allocated $26 million to establish "rapid assistance" teams that will provide immediate response to cyber crises in the Pacific. These teams will be led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and will include experts from the private sector and intelligence agencies like the Australian Signals Directorate.

Additionally, the government has dedicated $16.7 million to help Pacific nations identify vulnerabilities and test potential solutions to reduce the risk of online attacks. Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts highlighted cyber attacks as the fastest-growing threat to Pacific national security, mirroring the situation in Australia.

However, the Australian government is cautious and emphasises that the "rapid response teams" will only be dispatched to Pacific Island countries that specifically request assistance. The government is mindful of the sovereignty concerns in the Pacific, especially in the cyber space, as seen in the stalled security pact between Australia and Vanuatu.

- CyberBeat


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