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Australia’s cyber-war strategy

Dylan Welch, Dan Oakes (SMH) | June 5, 2011
Australia's will create its first national cyber strategy to confront the growing threat posed by electronic espionage, theft and state-sponsored cyber attack, with one of the country's most respected public servants revealing his department endures ''daily'' electronic intrusions.

Units dedicated to fighting the cyber threat have also sprung up in recent years, with Defence creating the Cyber Security Operations Centre and ASIO creating a cyber espionage branch.

Earlier this week the US took its latest step forward, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the Pentagon's formal cyber strategy, due to be released in July, will declare that computer sabotage can constitute an ''act of war''.

When asked about this concept in an interview with the Herald earlier this week, the incoming Chief of the Defence Force, David Hurley, cast doubts on whether computer sabotage can be considered an act of war.

''One of the real difficulties in cyber is attribution of actions to countries. Just because something emanates from a country, it could be very difficult to attribute to the country because of the various paths it can take to get to your network,'' he said.

''It's part of the discussion we're all having, and if you declare it as an act of war, what are the consequences of that? ... I don't think we're all signed up to a common thinking about that yet.'



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