Australia’s National Plan to Combat Cybercrime

Since the 2013 Australian National Plan to Fight Cybercrime was released, cybercrime has continued to grow in scope and sophistication. While the 2013 plan estimated the cost of cybercrime in Australia to be $ 2 billion annually, self-reported losses from cybercrime totaled more than $ 33 billion during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

It is therefore more important than ever that Australia has an effective framework to fight cybercriminals. This framework is outlined in the 2022 National Plan to Fight Cybercrime.

National plan for the fight against cybercrime

The National Plan to Fight Cybercrime (the National Plan) aims to ensure a safe online world for the Australian community and a hostile environment for cybercriminals targeting Australians and their businesses. This will be achieved through joint action by the Commonwealth, state and territorial governments and engagement with industry, academia and the community.

The national plan builds on the solid foundations provided by other plans and strategies such as the Australian Cyber ​​Security 2020 Strategy and the National Strategy to Combat Transnational, Serious and Organized Crime.

The National Plan focuses on three fundamental pillars:

  1. Prevent and protect.
  2. Investigate, interrupt and prosecute.
  3. To retrieve.

First pillar: prevent and protect

Strong online security and cyber security regimes are key to preventing cybercrime and protecting Australians.

All levels of government will work with industry and academia to ensure Australia is able to act flexibly and quickly in responding to emerging cyber threats. Key focus areas include designing ICT products and services, improving the cybersecurity habits of Australians, and working with international partners to improve global responses to the cybercrime threat.

Second pillar: investigate, interrupt and prosecute

This pillar focuses on ensuring consistent national cybercrime legislation and criminal justice responses to facilitate effective investigation, disruption and prosecution of cybercrime.

Sharing information between the public and private sectors will enable Australian law enforcement and prosecutors to effectively collect evidence for investigations and take legal action against cybercriminals. Global cooperation, including through international fora such as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention), will help strengthen global resilience to cybercrime.

Key actions under this pillar include:

  • Strengthen coordination between all government agencies and prosecutors.
  • Strengthen partnerships between the private and public sectors.
  • Support law enforcement to access electronic evidence located in foreign jurisdictions to facilitate cybercrime investigations.
  • Ensure law enforcement capabilities remain responsive to rapid technological advances.
  • Ensuring that Australian cybercrime legislation remains world leading and fit for purpose.
  • Improve cybercrime data collection, reporting and intelligence to better understand cybercrime threats impacting Australia.

The actions outlined under this pillar will be significantly enhanced through the establishment of the AFP-coordinated Cybercrime Coordination Center (JPC3), which will coordinate the Australian police response to serious cybercrime threats.

Pillar three: recovery

This pillar focuses on ensuring that Australians can recover from cybercrime incidents. Key actions include:

  • Raise awareness among cybercrime victims of how to access recovery resources and how to report cyber incidents.
  • Support organizations specializing in post-accident support services.

National Cybercrime Forum

An effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism is needed to support the National Plan. The national plan will guide results through the establishment of the National Cybercrime Forum, which brings together representatives from the Commonwealth, state and territorial justice departments, law enforcement and regulatory authorities (such as the Office of the Electronic Security Commissioner) .

The Department of Home Affairs will lead the forum to develop a cybercrime action plan that brings together the experience, powers, skills and intelligence of all parties. The Cybercrime Action Plan will outline detailed actions under each of the three pillars of the national plan, as well as mechanisms for monitoring and reporting on the progress and results of implementation.

Key takeaway

The 2022 National Plan to Fight Cybercrime was developed in response to the ever-growing threat of cybercrime, to protect Australians online and create a hostile environment for cybercriminals targeting Australians. The national plan focuses on three key pillars: 1) preventing cybercrime and protecting Australians online; 2) investigate, prosecute and stop cybercrime; 3) help victims of cybercrime recover. The National Cybercrime Forum will provide a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in support of the National Plan and will help develop a Cybercrime Action Plan outlining detailed actions under each of the three pillars of the National Plan.

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