$14m Canberra crisis centre a cyberwar defence

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$14m Canberra crisis centre a cyberwar defence

Unit handles cyber, terror threats and natural disasters.

A $14 million Crisis Coordination Centre has opened in the Federal Attorney-General’s Department to deal with large cyber and terror attacks and natural disasters.

The centre, housed in the Canberra Australian Federal Police headquarters, provided government departments with direct network access that bypassed Citrix logins to allow speedy responses to attacks against Australia.

The centre, officially opened today, had operated since September and had received a total budget of $40 million over 4 years under the 2008 Federal Government's Homeland and Border Security Review.

In the instance of network-borne attacks, up to 100 state and federal officers would man the unit to help departments including ASIO, CERT Australia, and Defence agencies to react to major attacks.

But it would only be engaged if attacks were large enough to cause significant damage to national interest, including attacks against the banking, energy or transport sectors.

Attacks against private businesses would not be handled though the centre.

The secure facility has “high-speed” and secure video links to state and federal agencies, a large operating room and a secure premises to be used in the event of “national security incidents.”

 “The Crisis Coordination Centre connects Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies to centralise Australian Government actions during national emergencies,” Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said in Canberra today. 

“While state and territory authorities are the first responders during times of disasters, the Australian Government has a critical role in coordinating support from other states, the Australian Defence Force, Commonwealth agencies and overseas.”

The centre was run by an average of 20 staff from Emergency Management Australia who report and prepare for national security incidents.

 It operates 24 hours every day.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia

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