Download: Data61 Cybersecurity Year End Update Factsheet [pdf · 1mb]

National Context

Released in 2016, the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy sets out the Government’s roadmap for meeting the dual challenges of advancing and protecting national interests online.  The strategy lays a foundation to develop partnerships between the Australian public and private sectors, support home-grown cyber security capabilities and promote international cyber cooperation.

A core plank of this strategy has been to establish the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (ACSGN), an industry-led body with the goal to drive forward industry collaboration and coordination and accelerate the creation and adoption of Australian-based cyber security innovation.

The Cyber Security Strategy also specifically seeks to boost the capacity of CSIRO Data61 to accelerate innovation, with a particular focus on support for cyber security start-ups and science & technical capability development, both internally to Data61 and through Data61’s partnerships with Universities. This ecosystem of industry, universities, ACSGN and Data61 is outlined below:

Science and Technology Progress

  • Data61 cybersecurity strategy published.
  • The cybersecurity research roadmap defines three research challenges, jointly identified with DST Group to inform research ecosystem and industry challenge alignment. Seven research themes were defined, and five significant projects are currently underway.
  • Approximately 70 distinct cybersecurity research activities are currently being carried out by Data61 and the D61+ network.
  • Cybersecurity researchers are recognised nationally and internationally. Professor Gernot Heiser is one of the 25 new Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering Fellows for 2016. Professor Steven Blackburn has been placed among the world’s best computer scientists, after being named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
  • A significant number of cybersecurity papers have been published in top venues. Key research such as VPN security, gait-based authentication, and blockchain drew significant national and international media attention.
  • Patents have been filed in the field of access control using blockchain, lightweight IoT security protocols, and authentication.
  • Collaborated with DST Group to develop the Cross Domain Desktop Compositor (CDDC) prototype. The prototype improves productivity in Defence and provides a means to securely access multiple isolated networks. CDDC was the recent winner of three State iAwards in SA. It is now under consideration with the Defence Innovation Hub to commercialise and build a local industry capability.
  • Secured and delivered a large number of industry cybersecurity projects including the DARPA-funded project on high assurance systems and Boeing funded project on IoT security. These projects see our research being trialled in industry, research knowledge disseminated widely and user ecosystem established.
  • SeL4-based secure kernel experiment successfully launched to space through QB50 cube satellite.
  • Delivery of several innovation projects with Commonwealth Government agencies through the NISA ‘Platforms for Open Data’ initiative, including activities related to privacy and security.
  • The cyber security first annual update from PM&C assessed Data61’s progress (funded under the National Innovation and Science Agenda) to be “strong”.
  • Alongside our partner Rockwell Collins, we were selected by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop methods to secure platforms for the US Navy (as well as land and air services) against cyber attacks. Our seL4 secure microkernel has since been demonstrated on a Boeing unmanned helicopter, a small unmanned air vehicle, and an enhanced soldier vision helmet. We have since been asked to participate in DARPA’s CASE programme to help build cyber resiliency into Defence programmes at a systems level.
  • Awarded NSW iAward for research around harnessing kinetic energy (gait, walking style) using wearable sensors that could be used as an authentication mechanism.
  • Partnering with the global leader in semiconductors, that specialises in data conversion and signal processing to secure IoT devices at the edge and provide advanced data filtering techniques in applications including smart cities, autonomous systems and automotive.
  • Partnered with a large Australian financial institution to understand the cognitive behaviours of staff during phishing attacks and how we may adjust these towards good security behaviours.
  • Worked with a large EU-based cyber security organisation to explore commercialisation of new anomaly detection techniques and user behavioural analytics for the Enterprise market.
  • Together with our DST Group partner we have commenced early exploration of cyber security risk modelling for the Ports Industry – looking at the convergence of the cyber physical and logical cyber threats impacting this industry and national security.

Collaboration and Partnerships Progress

  • Established four new University collaboration agreements (now 27 Universities in total) including agreements driven by cybersecurity collaboration.
  • Established 20+ collaborative research projects with Australian universities in key cybersecurity areas, aligning the national research effort.
  • Participated in the cyber security CRC bid by providing significant leadership and funding.
  • Entered into a $9.3 million partnership agreement with DST Group on cybersecurity. Established collaborative research projects with nine Australian universities around jointly identified priorities.
  • Launched the first SINET61 (Security Innovation Network) event with ~200 high profile local and international attendees across industry, government and research sectors.
  • Established new multi-year partnerships with VIC, ACT, QLD, NSW, which includes significant streams of cybersecurity research, skill uplifting and industry creation effort.   
  • The opening of the Victorian Cyber Security and Innovation Centre in Melbourne and launch of ‘Sci+Tech in the City’ weekly public tech seminar.
  • Joining and supporting Canberra cyber network and cyber skills forum.
  • Partnership with Australia Cyber Security Growth Network (ACSGN) in developing a sector competitiveness plan, a grand challenge model, and industry creation/scaling-up plan.
  • MOU, partnership and collaboration with 10+ major international universities in cybersecurity such as MIT Media lab, Cambridge, Purdue, University of Texas at San Antonio, CMU, IIT Bombay and A*Star.
  • Joining various national efforts and forums such as Australia-Israel cybersecurity dialogue, Prime Minister’s round table on cybersecurity, working group for Academic Centre of Excellence on cybersecurity, and providing inputs to the Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC).
  • Supported and participated in major cybersecurity events and industry conferences such as Australia Cyber Security Conference, AFR Business Summit, and National Fintech Cyber Summit.
  • Emphasis on scaling existing and new industries via start-ups. Continued work with cybersecurity SMEs/start-ups to help them scale through new flexible mechanisms.
  • Worked with major corporate partners such as PwC and IBM to explore potential joint ventures in cybersecurity technologies and products.
  • Continued internal commercialisation efforts in cybersecurity through Data61 product management function, commercialisation sprints, and participating in CSIRO’s ON innovation program.

Industry Upskilling / Market Leadership Progress

  • Launch of two blockchain reports for federal Treasury to inform industry of the opportunities and security and privacy risks of blockchain technology.
  • In partnership with AICD, Data61 is lifting the digital and cyber literacy of directors and boards across Australia. We piloted and launched a one-day director course on crisis management using cybersecurity as a case study. A second three-day director course on cybersecurity has been developed and will be piloted and launched in late 2017. The inaugural Data61-AICD cyber webinar delivered by Adrian Turner attracted a record level of 480 live attendees and an estimated 1000 registrants for video access.
  • Through collaborative research projects with universities, we created joint appointments ranging from postdocs to full professors.
  • Over 40 of our PhD students have a specific focus on cyber security, and more are planned. The current scholarship round includes 12 new cyber-focused PhDs.
  • Together with NSW Government, we provided mentors and our Ribit platform to facilitate the first Cyber Security speed-dating event matching cyber security students to potential employers.
  • Led the first Cyber Track for the Spark Festival (Startup / Entrepreneur Festival) in NSW
  • Co-authored the report “Startup Secrets: How Australia Can Create New Businesses With Fintech And Cyber Security Industry Collaboration” alongside three other industry organisations.
  • Supported the Finnies (Fintech Australia Awards) as an award judge – in a number of categories including Cyber Security.

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