This major investment announcement follows a co-ordinated state-based attack in June, which targeted Australian Government agencies and businesses across a range of sectors; including all levels of government, political organisations, industry, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure. The attacker managed to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in Telerik UI and services such as Sharepoint, Microsoft Internet Information Services and Citrix, and used traditional spear-phishing methods to try to extract login information from employees inside an organisation.
The Australian Government reassured its businesses and citizens that they had not made the announcement in response to any successful attack or large personal data breach, but to demonstrate their ongoing proactive efforts towards securing cyber resilience and also as a reminder of a necessity for robust cyber security, training and capability.
On 1 July 2020, the Australian Government released its 2020 Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan which states that heavy investments will be made towards sharing information reliably and securely across Defence, other Government agencies and with international partners.
In particular, increasingly Australia is converging its electronic warfare and cyber capabilities combining land, sea, air, cyber and space – a trend which is reflected in the recent Cyber and Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA) doctrine and the scope of the School of Information Operations (SOIO).
SOIO is a collaborative venture between major aerospace, defence and security company Leonardo and Australian company DEWC T&E Pty Ltd. DEWC T&E is an organisation staffed entirely by former military electronic warfare and cyber practitioners that delivers electronic warfare services in to the Australian Defence Force (Army, Navy, Airforce and Space Domains) and its allies. The training school is seen as a key cyber and electronic warfare capacity building by the Australia Government and it was officially opened by the Premier in February 2020. Leonardo is supporting SOIO to deliver cyber defence capabilities to the Australia Defence force.
The Leonardo SOIO partnership is also collaborating with CyberOps Pty, which is a lead cyber SME in Adelaide. CyberOps has been instrumental in developing the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre (A3C) cyber range which launched on 6 July 2020. The DEWC School of Information Operations was made a member of the A3C on 2 September 2020.
Leonardo is also working with partners to deliver content for cyber training to the defence supply chain in Australia and other states, drawing upon our UK training partner QA and our organic cyber academy and cyber range in Italy.