Sunday, January 24, 2010

Australia and Cyber-warfare Book on Attacks from China

Cover of Australia and Cyber-warfareThe book "Australia and Cyber-warfare" is very useful for putting the new Australian Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) into perspective. The section on "China’s cyber-attack capability" is relevant to Google's recent allegations of attacks from China.

There are very well formatted free web and mobile versions of the book available online, as well as a print on demand edition.

Australia and Cyber-warfare

Gary Waters, Desmond Ball and Ian Dudgeon

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 168

ISBN 9781921313790 (Print version) $19.95 (GST inclusive)
ISBN 9781921313806 (Online)
Published July 2008

This book explores Australia’s prospective cyber-warfare requirements and challenges. It describes the current state of planning and thinking within the Australian Defence Force with respect to Network Centric Warfare, and discusses the vulnerabilities that accompany the use by Defence of the National Information Infrastructure (NII), as well as Defence’s responsibility for the protection of the NII. It notes the multitude of agencies concerned in various ways with information security, and argues that mechanisms are required to enhance coordination between them. It also argues that Australia has been laggard with respect to the development of offensive cyber-warfare plans and capabilities. Finally, it proposes the establishment of an Australian Cyber-warfare Centre responsible for the planning and conduct of both the defensive and offensive dimensions of cyber-warfare, for developing doctrine and operational concepts, and for identifying new capability requirements. It argues that the matter is urgent in order to ensure that Australia will have the necessary capabilities for conducting technically and strategically sophisticated cyber-warfare activities by the 2020s.

The Foreword has been contributed by Professor Kim C. Beazley, former Minister for Defence (1984–90), who describes it as ‘a timely book which transcends old debates on priorities for the defence of Australia or forward commitments, [and] debates about globalism and regionalism’, and as ‘an invaluable compendium’ to the current process of refining the strategic guidance for Australia’s future defence policies and capabilities. ...

Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Foreword by Professor Kim C. Beazley
Chapter 1. Introduction: Australia and Cyber-warfare
Chapter 2. The Australian Defence Force and Network Centric Warfare
The ADF’S NCW Concept
Shared situational awareness
Balancing risks and opportunities
The NCW Roadmap
The human dimension
Accelerating change and innovation
Defence’s Information Superiority and Support Concept
Networking issues
The ADF’s capability planning for NCW
Joint force
Chapter 3. Information Warfare—Attack and Defence
The value of information
Open source information
Information Warfare
How would an adversary attack us?
China’s cyber-attack capability
What should we do?
Chapter 4. Targeting Information Infrastructures
The information society
Information Infrastructures: the NII, GII and DII
The National Information Infrastructure
The Global Information Infrastructure
The Defence Information Infrastructure
Information Infrastructures: Some key characteristics
Functional interdependence
Ownership and control
The Importance of Information Assurance
Targeting Information Infrastructures: who and why?
Nation-state targeting
Targeting by non-state organisations
Targeting: objectives
Targeting: capabilities required
Psychological operations
Database management
Computer Network Operations (CNO)
Other weapons and methodologies
HUMINT assets
Additional capabilities
Targeting: vulnerability and accessibility
Chapter 5. Protecting Information Infrastructures
Balancing information superiority and operational vulnerability
Balancing security and privacy in information sharing
Managing security risk
Managing privacy risk
Dangers in getting privacy wrong
Critical Infrastructure Protection in Australia
Securing the Defence enterprise
Trusted information infrastructure
Addressing the national requirement
Chapter 6. An Australian Cyber-warfare Centre
The relevant organisations and their coordination
Research, planning and preparation
Offensive activities
Information Warfare and the intelligence process
Command issues
A premium on ante-bellum activities
Rules of engagement, doctrine and operational concepts
Capability planning
Location of a Cyber-warfare Centre
Regional developments

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Australian Cyber Security Operations Centre

The Australian Defence Department officially opened its Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) at the Defence Signals Directorate in Canberra today. CSOC is for Defence needs, there is also "CERT Australia" for the rest of government. I was interviewed by Channel Ten News about this today at ANU, but the interview strayed into a discussion of Google's allegations of hacker attacks from China.

Unfortunately the Australian Government chose to set up its own new Computer Emergency Response Team, rather than support the existing non-government AusCERT. The Government also chose a confusingly similar name for their new centre. The new centre appears to consist of little so far, apart from the pre-existing Australian Government Computer Emergency Readiness Team (

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Cyberwar Podcast

Stilgerrian, interviewed me for a ZDNet Australia podcast on "Cyberwar: What is it good for?". This was recorded shortly before the Attorney-General released the new Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy and IBM announced a new computer security centre in Canberra.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy

The Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland has released an Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy. This is a high risk strategy as it proposes transferring the functions of the successful and experienced non-government AusCert to an inexperienced government body. A better strategy would be to resource AusCert so it can provide services to non-government bodies and work with DSD to look after government and military computer security.

The Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy has three objectives:
  1. Make Australians aware of cyber risks,
  2. Make businesses operate secure and resilient information and communications technologies,
  3. Secure Australian Government information and make communications technologies resilient.

The seven Strategic priorities are:

  1. Improve the detection, analysis, mitigation and response to sophisticated cyber threats,
  2. Provide Australians with information and tools to protect themselves online,
  3. Partner with business to promote security and resilience,
  4. Protection of government ICT systems,
  5. Promote a secure, resilient and trusted global electronic operating environment,
  6. Maintain an effective legal framework and enforcement against cyber crime,
  7. Promote research and development of cyber security a skills.

By early 2010 the Australian Government expects to have:

  1. CERT Australia: with Attorney-General’s Department taking over AusCert's responsibilities. This will incorporate the Australian Government Computer Emergency Readiness Team,
  2. Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC): The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) will continue to provide civilian and military government agencies with cyber security assistance.

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