Media Release: Investment in cyber security paying dividends

15 March 2017

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) cyber security follow-up audit has found recent investments in cyber security capabilities mean that the Department of Human Services (DHS) is now “cyber resilient” and meeting all key indicators of strength in cyber security.

DHS is now compliant with all four of the Australian Signals Directorate’s top mandatory strategies.

These investments have substantially reduced the likelihood of successful cyber-attacks.

This finding is a marked turnaround – when the Coalition came to Government DHS was not compliant with the Australian Signals Directorate’s cyber security requirements.

However recent investments, such as the establishment of a state-of-the-art cyber security operations centre and the implementation of new cyber security governance arrangements have substantially lifted the Department’s capabilities.

The Australian community can be confident that the department responsible for delivering $172 billion in payments annually is able to continue providing vital services while effectively deterring and defending against cyber-attacks.

Auditors also noted DHS’ ability to maintain a diverse ICT environment, with high levels of system availability, without compromising cyber security.

This is a significant achievement given the large number of ageing legacy systems being maintained to support Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, said the huge increase in online services, such as myGov, has made life easier for welfare recipients but also increased the importance of strong cyber security measures.

“We take cyber security extremely seriously and these findings show that since we came to Government we have put in the hard work needed to achieve a strong cyber security capability,” Minister Tudge said.

“Almost all Australians access Centrelink, Medicare and child support at some point in their lives so it’s imperative this data is kept safe from attack.

“The rapidly evolving threat of cyber-attacks is a key challenge of the digital age, however we are setting a strong example on cyber security.

“The ANAO’s recommendations support our ongoing commitment to prioritise cyber security and work is already underway to further improve our capability.”