Federal infosec director to step down

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Federal infosec director to step down
McKenzie (right) with Senetas' CEO John DuBois in 2008.

ASD hunts for a new boss.

The director of the Federal Government's information security and foreign intelligence authority Ian McKenzie will wrap up a six year career leading the department when he retires in December.

McKenzie was appointed the director of the Australian Signals Directorate (until this May named the Defence Signals Directorate) in May 2007. In the four years prior he worked as the head of the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation.

The department said MrKenzie was retiring to pursue a number of private activites. It is currently on the hunt for a replacement director.

The ASD is located within the Department of Defence and delivers intelligence and security advice to the Australian Government. 

McKenzie scarcely fronted the media. In one of his rare public speeches in 2010, he spoke of the threat of cybercrime and how the security landscape had changed since the Directorate was established in 1947.

“For many years, in fact the first 50 years, the focus of the Directorate’s information security activity was on protecting the nation’s secrets, primarily in the defence, diplomatic and intelligence domains,” he said at the time.

“This has changed dramatically over the last ten years, with advances in internet technology and the rapid movement of Australia’s governments doing business on­line.

“We still have to do the more traditional work of protecting the secrets in the traditional national security realm, but in addition the Directorate also has to help government departments and agencies to protect sensitive information in cyber space. And this information reflects a broader understanding of  national security. 

“It is now more broadly related to any sensitive information whether it is economic, commercial, or citizen’s personal information. All of which federal, state and territory governments hold in increasingly large volumes and need to protect.”

One of the more recent initiatives launched during McKenzie’s tenure was the new Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASCS), announced in January, intended to be a one-stop shop for cyber security.

The ASD became the provider of the majority of staff and capability for the centre, formerly known as the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC). It was established to provide advice to the government on cyber threats and co-ordinate the response to cyber threats to government and systems of "national importance". 

The centre recorded 789 incidents in the first five months of 2013 and investigated 398. Around 80 percent of the incidents were classified as state-sponsored, 14 percent as cybercrime and 6 percent attributed to individuals.

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