Cyber Spice on the menu for Federal Budget 2022-23

BudgetCyber Security

30 March 2022

Introduced among the Federal Budget 2022-23 announcements, the Federal Government has proposed an unprecedented investment to improve Australia’s cybersecurity preparedness. For those that have been the target of cybercrime, this is welcome news.

Costing $10 billion over ten years, project REDSPICE (Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber, and Enablers), will operate within the existing Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), an intelligence agency charged with protecting our most important secrets.

The financial and productivity impact of cybercrime is a growing concern to government and business groups. Small business is particularly vulnerable, due to the high relative cost of software to defend IT systems, awareness training and ongoing monitoring. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received 144 reports of cybercrime per day from this group alone, estimated to be costing small business $300 million per year.

These impacts are not only financial, with some studies showing that victims of cybercrime develop “a sense of violation” as is seen in real life physical crime, with some individuals subsequently developing feelings of loss of autonomy and control (Palassis et al. 2021). These feelings are understandable, given that cybercrime is an unwelcome intrusion into our digital lives, often random and remote. Victims of cybercrime will rarely know who was responsible for carrying out the act, exacerbating feelings of helplessness.

Project REDSPICE will assist with additional resourcing and personnel to help the ASD deliver trusted advice and expertise to business and the community generally, one of its strategic objectives. While these are welcome developments in our ability to avoid cybercrime in future, there are several steps available today to help avoid or minimise the impact of cybercrime.

These include:

  • Secure your portable device with a password or a PIN that is easy to remember but difficult to guess.

  • Regularly back-up your files so you can get back to work quickly and encrypt your device so that the hard drive cannot be used even if removed.

  • Turn on automatic updates for your devices and avoid downloading software from the Internet unless it is directly through the vendor (i.e. Microsoft), and avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots unless absolutely necessary.

  • For your business website, ensure you have enabled multi factor authentication (MFA) for your administration accounts to minimise the chances of unauthorised access. Make sure you have backups of all your website content and data in case you need to restore from scratch.

  • Enable HTTPS for your website to improve security and improve your website rankings.

To better improve your resilience against the impacts of cybercrime, the Federal Budget 2022/23 has proposed funding to assist small business in modernising IT infrastructure and systems.

Known as the Technology Investment Boost, small businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million will be able to deduct a bonus 20% of the cost of business expenses and depreciating assets to support an upgrade to cybersecurity, accounting systems, office digitisation, web page design and IT equipment. This initiative is most welcome and should be considered by all small business owners for their long term IT security needs and workflow efficiencies.

****Check out the full coveragefrom the Federal Budget 2022-23, which will continue to develop throughout the week as new insights and video content are published.