PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS – Cybersecurity

I move:

That this House:

(1) recognises that 10 to 14 October was Stay Smart Online Week, which saw the Government educate businesses and individuals on the importance of cyber security, including how to protect themselves online;

(2) further recognises that this year’s theme of ‘Cyber safety from the lounge room to the board room’ focuses on the importance of good online security habits at home and at work;

(3) congratulates the Government on launching Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide and Stay Smart Online My Guide for individuals which:

(a) provides:

(i) advice on vital areas of online security including aspects of privacy, passwords, suspicious messages, surfing safely; and

(ii) information on cyber security when accessing online finances and making payments; and

(b) gives advice on security solutions for tablets and mobiles;

(4) welcomes the Government’s free Alert Service, which has online safety information and solutions to help people protect themselves online; and

(5) congratulates the Prime Minister on launching the National Cyber Security Strategy which sets out the Government’s vision for meeting the dual challenges of advancing and protecting Australia’s interests in the digital age.

Members would know my longstanding interest in cyber safety and cybersecurity. I have delivered hundreds of cyber safety presentations to schools and to community and business groups. So, in Stay Smart Online Week, I am very pleased to see the government is so committed to improving the nation’s cybersecurity awareness. It is relevant to every aspect of our lives, whether it is at home, at work, at school, in business or just when we are out and about. Cybersecurity breaches are estimated to cost Australians over $1 billion a year, but there are a few simple things you can do. Considering that approximately 84 per cent of Australia’s small and medium businesses are online, there are steps that each business needs to take to protect their business. So the government has launched two cybersecurity guides for Stay Smart Online Week—the Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide and the Stay Smart Online My G uide for individuals.

The My Guide contains eight key steps that individuals should choose. In relation to privacy, be wary of what you share. With passwords, make sure you create strong passwords. Do not reuse them. Of particular importance for young people: with suspicious messaging, treat any and every unsolicited message with great caution. In relation to surfing safely, avoid malware and keep to trusted websites. With respect to online finances and payments, make sure you keep your bank details away from prying eyes. Be very careful. Check your bank account details constantly. With tablets and mobiles, stay secure while you are on the move. With security software, make sure it is updated and keep yourself safe, and report anything and everything that you can.

Small business can do a range of things: use pass phrases, which protects the information; back up data; raise cybersecurity awareness in your organisation or business; make sure you maintain good privacy—keep friends close and information even closer; lock down your computers and networks; and keep your security software up-to-date. The Stay Smart Online alert service is free and can help individuals and businesses understand recent threats as well as continuing, changing threats and how they can be avoided.

I have asked small businesses in my community: does the company or business have cybersecurity as an agenda item when they meet? Does the business, irrespective of its size, have state-of-the-art cybersecurity, not just state-of-the-art technology? How are information and data secured and used in the business with employees, with associated businesses and entities and, ultimately, with customers? These are all requirements of digital trust. Daily reports of data theft and threats to individual company’s brands are common, as are leaks by insiders. These are some of the threats. How would your business respond if it were you? I am pleased to see the government, under the national Cyber Security Strategy, offering government grants to up to 5,000 small businesses to have cybersecurity tested by a CREST Australia New Zealand accredited provider.

On a personal level, I recently saw that our online reputation is our greatest asset. Tim Thomas, Detective Inspector for Technology Crimes Services, said in The Sunday Times:

No police investigation will ever undo the harm. Once the material is out on the internet it’s there to stay.

I commend the eSafety Commissioner’s work as well. I say to every parent: talk to your kids. If you look at iParent on the eSafety Commissioner’s website, you will see they list seven ways to make your home cybersafe. I commend that to people. When I am out and about I also talk about the risks around some of the apps such as Snapchat. We have recently seen some of the risks around Tinder that parents need to be aware of, as they do with what happens with Instagram. Kik, in my experience, is meant for 17-year-olds but, from listening to the young people I talk to in schools, in my area it is mostly being used by children of the age of nine. That gives me great concern. Of course, there are other sites where parents also need to be very well aware of what is happening. You need to have a look at your child’s history, talk to your children about this space and have a family plan.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): Is there a seconder for the motion?

Mr Pasin: I second the motion.