New security guidelines for govt agencies needed: A-G

Attorney-General Robert McClelland helps launch National Cyber Security Awareness Week

New guidelines for government agencies designed to help protect Australians' personal and financial information were being developed for a roll out later this year, according to Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

Speaking at the launch of the Federal Government’s National Cyber Security Awareness Week in Canberra, McClelland said that the guidelines would require agencies to take steps to ensure that electronic information held on consumers was accessed, shared and stored in a secure way.

“But it’s important to bear in mind that personal information is valuable and it is not just government who holds Australians’ personal information. Businesses are also custodians of this information.”

Turning to the government’s work with businesses, Attorney-General McClelland said the internet service provider (ISP) code of practice, theiCode, aimed to promote a cybersecurity culture within ISPs and provide a consistent approach for providers to inform, educate and protect their customers in relation to cybersecurity.

“In addition, the Australian Government has put in place crisis management arrangements which take effect if a cyber incident occurs,” he said. This included international exercises such as Cyber Storm III which was conducted in September 2010 with the US Department of Homeland Security.

“Cyber Storm III allowed us to test our preparedness for cyber threats and strengthen relationships with the business community and also with our international partners. This means that if something goes wrong, the government and the private sector can work together to fix the problem.”

McClelland also said the Protecting Yourself Online: What Everyone Needs to Know booklet would be reprinted. Over 438,000 copies have been distributed through libraries, ISPs, community legal centres and government agencies.

“The second edition builds on the first with updates that reflect the always changing cyber landscape,” he said.

National Cyber Security Awareness Week continues until Friday, 3 June.

Got a security tip-off? Contact Hamish Barwick at hamish_barwick at

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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