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Australia at growing risk of cyber terrorism


Australia remains susceptible to the threat of cyber terrorist attacks, according to the head of the country’s first ever Cyber Security Centre.

In an exclusive interview with News Ltd. Tuesday, Australia’s inaugural cyber security coordinator, Stephen Day, revealed that as terrorist organizations become more tech-savvy, the risk of a cyber attack on the country becomes more likely, reported Xinhua.

Although Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for a review of Australia’s cyber security strategy, a move that Day described as "sensible", he did suggest that more still needs to be done to make citizens aware of the risks of online crime.

"We are in an arm-wrestle between those who are trying to defend and those who are trying to get around us and at the moment, because there is a general lack of awareness, those who would do us harm are at an advantage," he told News Ltd. "But we are going to catch them."

The last significant cyber terrorist attack occurred in August 2013, when the web sites of media companies such as the New York Times, the Huffington Post and Twitter were allegedly hacked by a Syrian group known as the "Syrian Electronic Army".

During that specific attack, users who clicked onto those respective web sites were redirected to a server controlled by the Syrian group.

According to Day, the Australian government is at risk of similar attacks if it does not improve its online security.

"Some terrorist groups are very well resourced and it is an absolute possibility that they could create significant troubles for national security or economic prosperity," he said.

"We have been working for some years now on improving the defences of the government, but there is a lot of work to be done, there is no doubt about that."

Day also revealed that Australia is at a specific risk of foreign espionage, particularly from industries, rather than international governments.

"There is a troubling increase in nation states stealing intellectual property from not only government, but also from industry," Day said.

"I don’t know if all countries are doing it, but an increasing number of nation states are playing in this space.

"The risk has always been there, espionage has been around for a long time … but the level of activity going into the stealing of intellectual property from big corporations is at a greater level than we have seen before."