Security tsar likely to safeguard against cyber terrorism

Australia is set to appoint its very own cyber security tsar dedicated to protecting the nation from cyber terrorism. The nation may also introduce tax breaks that would stimulate IT security spending in the private sector.

The plans were formulated at last week's inaugural meeting of a business and government taskforce established to safeguard Australia's critical infrastructure as part of the government's National Anti-Terrorist Plan.

However, 90 per cent of Australia's critical infrastructure is privately owned and includes information systems necessary to support essential services such as banking, finance, telecommunications, transport, power and water supplies.

According to sources in attendance at the meeting, the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) is preparing a discussion paper on the proposals which include Australia's first dedicated cyber security executive to oversee critical infrastructure initiatives and to promote joint initiatives between the private and public sectors.

The other proposal under consideration is a revision of tax incentives for IT security spending which would allow tax breaks for software and hardware purchases within a year, instead of three years.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General Daryl Williams said a report on the meeting outcomes is being prepared for the Prime Minister's office and all proposals are under review.

Speakers at the event included ASIO's director general of security Dennis Richardson, National Office of the Information Economy CEO John Rimmer, plus IT companies such as Symantec and EMC.

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