Australia has been ranked third behind the UK and US and ahead of 17 other G-20 nations for its ability to withstand cyber attacks and to deploy the digital infrastructure needed for a productive and secure economy.
The ranking, via the Economist intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Cyber Power Index, takes into consideration 40 different indicators across four categories: Legal and Regulatory Framework; Economic and Social Context; Technology Infrastructure; and Industry Application.
According to the EIU, Australia’s national cyber plan – including the National Broadband Network as well as the National Digital Strategy, intended to enhance digital engagement and target key areas of the country's digital economy — placed the country in particularly good stead against competitors.
Australia received an ‘above-average’ rating for private-public partnerships, particularly around the NBN. A top ranking was received for the Australian High Tech Crime Centre as a central cyber enforcement authority, the country’s 20001 cybercrime law and 2011 Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill, and AusCERT/CERT Australia as Australia’s ability to respond to a cyber threat.
Australia, however, fell down on its International Cybercrime Commitments with a second-lowest ranking due to the country not being a signatory to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.
“However, the country announced its intention to accede to the Convention in March 2010,” the report reads. “A bill was submitted to Parliament in June 2011 requesting amendments to its Cybercrime Law (2001) to prepare for accession.”
A second lowest ranking was also received for the country’s lack of a cyber security plan, but the report did not the government’s plan to issue a "comprehensive blueprint" of cyber security objectives by mid-2012.
Despite the federal government’s stalled push for a mandatory ISP-level internet filter, the report awarded Australia’s Cyber Censorship top marks, noting that “the government does not mandate any filtering or blocking of websites, and Australia's online environment is considered free of censorship.”
Australia’s Smart Grids capability received average marks and the country’s e-Health capability, as well as its Intelligent Transport capability both scored above average.