Stay Smart Online Week Launch

2nd June 2014  |  Comments  |  Speeches

Thank you Bajo and Hex [Steven “Bajo” O’Donnell and Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen who introduced you]

And to the partners of the Stay Smart Online initiative for their longstanding support of this important initiative,  and the members of the Stay Smart Online steering group.

Stay Smart Online Week is a great collaborative project between Government, business and online platforms.  It is important to recognise that we all have a vested stake in making sure that people’s personal information is being protected online – and that they feel as though this is the case.  

A 2012 study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that over 1.2 million Australians – that’s 6.7% of the population aged 15 years and over – had been a victim of personal fraud in a period of 12 months, losing approximately $1.4 billion.

Later today my colleague , Paul Fletcher, will be launching Intel Security’s “Safeguarding The Future of Digital Australia in 2025”.  Worryingly, the report found that only a third (32 per cent) of Australians feel safe and secure in an increasingly digital world.

So clearly there is more work to do in protecting people’s online identities and personal information.  But it is also important to note that this really starts with education and awareness – and this is what this week is really all about.  I haveoften  noted that the biggest threat to online security is often not vulnerabilities in the hardware or the  software used; it is the warmware – us  – the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of the people using technology online.

The most common entry vector of malware into computer networks is from people opening attachments from emails that appear to be genuine – always check carefully that an attachment is from a trusted source.

Around 1700 organisations are involved this year, reflecting an increasing understanding of the implications of online safety and security and the role we can, and must, all play in addressing the issues at hand.

By government, industry and the community coming together like this we are developing what I hope will soon become an entrenched culture of awareness that will help protect all Australians as they increasingly move their lives online.

It is becoming increasingly anachronistic to refer to the so-called ‘digital economy’.  Rather, it is the economy, just with more tools to access transactions than before.  It’s not uncommon for people to walk into a retail fashion store today, try on some clothes and then scan the barcode to see if they can get a better deal somewhere else whether it is online or at another bricks and mortar store.

Stay Smart Online 2014: Focus on Mobility

That’s why this year’s theme of ‘On the Go’ is so important. The internet is all-pervasive; we’re online wherever we are now. It’s so seamless, so simple, so everywhere it’s easy to forget that quickly transferring some funds or posting something to Facebook on your phone or tablet is actually being online.

The take-up of smart phones and tablets has been one of the most rapid of any technology, ever.  Google research found that smartphone penetration in Australia increased from 37 per cent to 65 per cent in the two years to 2013 .  As I recently noted while on the morning ferry into the city, it seems as though everyone on board was swiping and scrolling on their smartphone – but as many people pointed out, I happened to tweet this observation, meaning I was guilty of the same crime.

That little smartphone, never out of our own, or our children’s’, hand poses the same security and safety risks as the internet at home or in the office. Indeed, it poses even greater risk in some ways because it is always with us, and we are often less focussed, more distracted when we are using it. It is the same with our tablets. We are usually on the go, or multi-tasking when we log on, which makes it easy to be forgetful or careless.

Stay Smart Online is promoting tips across seven themes this year:

• Securing your mobile device
• Securing your desktop or laptop computer
• Protecting your online accounts
• Safely connecting and sharing
• Protecting your child
• Buying online
• Selling online

They are all tips that need to become second nature like other basic safety measures we take without thinking, like locking the front door or never leaving a wallet on a café table.

As a first step, we encourage Australians to subscribe to the Government's free Stay Smart Online Alert Service, to learn about online scams, data breaches, viruses and other issues and how to address them.

The Cyber Security Challenge

Obviously user behaviour can’t mitigate all the risks we face; we will also always need cyber security professionals, just as we need security professionals in our everyday lives.

That’s what the Cyber Security Challenge Australia is all about:  identifying talented Australian students and inspiring them to become cyber security professionals.

The 2014 Challenge Australia has been a collaboration across portfolio agencies under the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence, the Attorney-General and myself.

These Australian Government agencies partnered with Telstra to host the Cyber Security Challenge and were supported this year by NBN Co. and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

This year’s Challenge was the largest in its three-year history, with more than 200 students in 55 teams from 22 higher education institutions competing in a simulated hacking game, which took place in a controlled virtual environment over 24 hours.

I want to thank Telstra for providing the competition’s infrastructure and prizes.

For the winning team, the prize includes the chance to go to the Black Hat Conference 2014 in Las Vegas USA – the world’s premier information security forum.

I also want to thank NBN Co. for providing additional infrastructure and PwC for its administrative support.

In addition to the competition’s corporate sponsors, thank you to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for organising the Challenge and the hardworking team from the Australian Signals Directorate’s Cyber Security Branch who built, tested and ran the technical side of the Challenge this year.

Mostly, I want to thank the extremely talented students who took part: this nation’s future, whichever career you all eventually go on to choose, is clearly in excellent hands.

I am very happy to announce that the winning team is from the University of NSW. Again. UNSW has now won all three Challenges.

This year’s team is: John Cramb, Evgeny Martynov, Oliver Chang and Ben Faull.

Second and third place also go to UNSW.

In just a moment I will be joined by Kate McKenzie, from Telstra, to present the prize.

Now it is with pleasure and pride that I launch Stay Smart Online Week 2014 and welcome the Canberra Girls’ Grammar School choir to sing the Stay Smart Online Song.

Stay Smart Online is a truly collaborative initiative that helps to instil skills and confidence that keep us all safe and lets us reap the many, many rewards the internet has to offer while avoiding its pitfalls.

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