The Australian government has created a new military unit tasked with both defending the country's critical infrastructure against cyber attacks and launching offensive cyber strikes on foreign actors.
The new 'information warfare unit' will be a central part of Australia's Defence operations. It will have responsibility for
will go live this weekend with an initial 100 cyber security specialists. The government hopes it will grow to 900 staff within ten years.
However, attracting Australia's best and brightest security experts away from lucrative private sector roles will be a challenge for the government given a well-documented cyber security skills shortage.
Tehan said the $400 million allocated under Defence's white paper strategy last year to develop Australia's cyber security capabilities would help fund this recruitment drive.
The unit will contain both Defence personnel and civilian public service employees.
It has been described as one of the country's biggest shifts in defence strategy.
The launch of the new cyber unit comes as the world grapples with the Petya/GoldenEye malware that ravaged computers across the globe earlier this week.
Security experts say it is likely the main purpose of the malware - which they claim was masquerading as ransomware to hide its true destruction intent - was to install itself on computers at government and commercial organisations in Ukraine and plant the seeds of future sabotage.
Australia was left relatively unscatched by the global attack, but did not so easily escape damage from the earlier WannaCry mass ransomware campaign, which notably snared Victoria Police's speed camera system and shut down Honda's manufacturing plant.