Australia ranks third among Asia-Pacific nations – behind only the USA and China – in the capability to wage cyber warfare, according to a report by a little-known Canberra-based, and government-backed, think tank called the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Some of the report’s findings were revealed last night on ABC-TV’s Lateline program. According to presenter Emma Alberici, it’s the first ever ranking of cyber capabilities across the region.
In terms of “overall cyber capabilities”, Australia is ranked second behind the USA, followed by South Korea, Japan and Singapore, Alberici said, though what this entailed was not fully explained.
Reporter Margot O’Neill expressed surprise at Australia’s No 3 ranking on cyber warfare capabilities, and asked one of the report’s three authors, Tobias Feakin, if – after in the last five years having its Federal Parliament, Defence and Foreign Affairs e-mail hacked, top-secret blueprints of a new ASIO building stolen, and Australian intelligence compromised – it was time for Australia to publicly reveal it now has the capacity to launch cyber warfare against other nations in the region, not just defend against it.
His reply: “I believe it would be beneficial for Australia to reveal in an unclassified sense it has a military doctrine which outlines . how Australian defence forces think about cyber warfare capabilities.”
– Unasked question: are the spooky warriors at DSD/ASD and other shadowy agencies actually already bombarding some of our neighbours with cyber weapons, and if so, which neighbours? Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer. – DF