Australia is setting up new secret 'sprint teams' to deal with foreign hackers

Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP.

The Australian government is investing millions in cyber security as part of an effort to keep foreign adversaries out of its networks and prevent them from meddling in future elections.

Part of the investment will see new so-called “sprint teams” established to protect the nation’s networks. It is unclear what the government means by the term “sprint team”. Business Insider Australia has reached out to Australian Cyber Security Centre for clarity.

The government said its measures are to increase the monitoring of cyber threats.

“The government will provide funding to enhance cyber security arrangements for whole-of-government systems in relation to the 2019 federal election, and to mitigate potential cyber threats through enhanced monitoring and response capabilities,” according to the Budget papers.

“This includes the creation of cyber ‘sprint teams’ within the Australian Cyber Security Centre and a cyber security response fund.”

The government would not reveal the amount of funding being invested into the cyber security response fund due to national security reasons, according to multiple reports.

Separately, the government plans to invest $34.8 million over a four year period to “counter activities that seek to undermine Australians sovereign democratic institutions.”

There is also $570 million for the Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to tackle terrorism and extremism.

The announcements to beef up the nation’s cyber defences come after an embarrassing cyber attack in February where foreign spies broke into the Australian Parliament House network.

Peter Dutton, the Home Affairs Minister, said the level of foreign intelligence activity against Australia was higher than its ever been.

“Covert foreign operations can have serious implications for Australia’s sovereignty by interfering with governmental and political processes,” he said.

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