Calls for better cyber protection for Tasmania

WARNING: TasICT chief executive Will Kestin warned businesses and the government of the dangers the internet could produce.
WARNING: TasICT chief executive Will Kestin warned businesses and the government of the dangers the internet could produce.

The security of information held by the state government could be at risk of cyber attacks, the executive of Tasmania’s peak information and technology body has warned.

Several weeks after ransomware crippled Cadbury’s Hobart factory, TasICT chief executive Will Kestin warned a similar attack could happen to the government and businesses across the state. 

On June 27 a global malware attack affected businesses across the world and saw production at Cadbury’s Claremont facility halted for several days. 

Each minute there are more than 500,000 cyber security attack attempts.

Incidents of identity fraud are up 57 per cent since 2015.

In Australia, online security breaches cost businesses on average, $276,000 each.

“These breaches are only going to become more prevalent,” Mr Kestin said. 

“This is something that isn’t going away, it’s only going to increase.”

Mr Kestin said the state government also had “a fair bit of work to do in the cyber security space”.

”The government needs to expand and improve its cyber security,” he said. 

In the 2017-2018 budget, the state government allocated $60 million to improve its computer systems – a move that drew praise from TasICT.

But Mr Kestin said the number of government employees accessing systems remotely increased the risk of attack.

He said it was vital the state government took the issue seriously to prevent identity theft.

“How much personal information does the government have about all of us,” he said. 

“How easy will it be for someone to extract that information if the system is compromised?”

A spokesman for the Tasmanian Government said recruitment for a chief information security officer had begun.

“The Tasmanian Government takes its responsibility to protect the security and integrity of all information held on behalf of the community very seriously,” she said. 

“The online environment is constantly changing, so the government is vigilant in its approach to monitoring emerging threats and vulnerabilities.”

Mr Kestin said cyber security attacks, such as the one that hit Cadbury, was avoidable if patches and security were up-to-date.