ASIO reveals cyberspooks unit

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ASIO reveals cyberspooks unit
Attorney-General Robert McClelland

Defences against attacks on critical infrastructure to be unveiled tonight.

The wraps will tonight be taken off the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation's new unit of cyberspooks, tasked with protecting the nation's networks from electronic spies.

“The specialist cyber investigations unit [will] investigate and provide advice on state-sponsored cyber attack against, or involving, Australian interests,” said Attorney-General Robert McClelland (pictured).

To be announced in his speech tonight at Canberra's National Security College, McClelland said ASIO will cooperate closely with CERT Australia and the Defence Signals Directorate’s Cyber Security Operations Centre to identify “developing threats and determine appropriate responses”.

He said cyber activity was attracting much interest within the community.

He cited the case of the Stuxnet worm that brought Iran's nuclear power programme to its knees and when Estonia was almost brought to a standstill by a denial of service attack.

“We must continually invest in enhanced capabilities that will bolster our resilience to such threats,” he said.

ASIO was spreading its net for recruits, relying on mainstream services such as

It recently sought the services of a data centre team leader and a range of software development engineers with salaries of $60,000 to $108,000.

Candidates were expected to develop "innovative, leading-edge intelligence collection systems, involving internet and IP-based technologies and protocols, along with networking systems and database development in [ASIO's] telecommunications interception area".

Last week ASIO gained powers under the Telecommunications Interception and Intelligent Services Act, which Australian Greens senator, Scott Ludlam said were excessive.

"As well as enabling ASIO to intercept communications on behalf of other agencies, this amendment will force carriers and service providers to inform ASIO of any changes to the way they run their business that may affect the extent to which ASIO can intercept communications," Senator Ludlam said.

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