The Western Australian government has announced it will sink AUD 1.8 million to establish a whole-of-government cybersecurity operations center.

The new establishment will be managed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Office of Digital Government. It will also offer support to existing cybersecurity efforts across government and boost the existing cybersecurity team within the Office of Digital Government.

“During COVID-19, we’ve seen a rise in malicious cyber activity in terms of frequency, scale, and sophistication … the new operations centre will provide unprecedented visibility of threats against agencies’ networks, as well as improve the state government’s ability to coordinate and respond to cybersecurity threats against our systems,” he said.

The university students who participate in the Office of Digital Government’s learning program can take benefit from this additional avenue for cybersecurity TAFE. Earlier this month, the state’s office of Digital Government signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft so that cybersecurity can be delivered for the public sector and work on initiatives that find out and eliminate cybercrime.

The rise of such an initiative came because of the recent audit, which revealed certain aspects. Some units and entities failed to meet the benchmark of information security, business continuity, IT operations, management of risk, and physical security. In the 2018 audit, there were only 13 entities that met the benchmark, while in 2019 audit, it increased to 15 entities. The results gave way to various concerns that were highlighted in previous years.

“However, a large number of entities are still not managing this area effectively,” the report said.

The weaknesses found in the area of poor security are –

  • No access to highly privileged access to applications
  • Lack of processes to identify and patch security vulnerabilities
  • No information security awareness programs for staff
  • Lack of training and development for staff
  • Weak password controls