ECA NovThe overwhelming majority of Australians (82%) believe Australia should be a global cyber security superpower, but only 32% believe that Australia currently is. The latest research by Palo Alto Networks and Savanta indicates that most Australians lack confidence in Australia’s cyber security capabilities.

The study, which questioned 1,000 Australians on their cyber security awareness, practices, and expectations, also found a further 74% of Australians are currently fearful of a nation-wide cyber attack targeting Australia that will impact their daily lives, with 26% being very fearful.

“Between an increasingly complex geopolitical environment and a string of high-profile cyber attacks, Australians are on high alert,” said Sarah Sloan, Head of Government Affairs and Public Policy, ANZ at Palo Alto Networks. “Australia already has many of the components to be a cyber superpower, like relatively high digital literacy across the population and sophisticated cyber capabilities across both the public and private sector – so we should be a little more confident about our position globally.”

Australians would like to see government action on cyber, with 65% of Australians believing the government could do more to protect their cyber security. Overall millennials had most faith in the government’s efforts, while Gen X had the least. Australians who used a password manager were 33% more likely to trust the government was doing all it could than those who did not use one.

“For Australia to be a cyber superpower, it must be made a priority for every Australian. The reality is that cyber is a team sport – we all have a role to play. The Government can only do so much on its own,” Sloan said. “Fortunately we’ve seen cyber security quickly move up the list of priorities for Australia. Last week the Government announced consultation on a new Australian Cyber Security Strategy and the Minister has set an ambitious goal of making Australia the world’s most secure cyber nation by 2030. That announcement sits in the context of the 2016 and 2020 Cyber Security Strategies,  REDSPICE, the investment in cyber capabilities for the Australian Signals Directorate, and our first Minister for Cyber Security who sits in cabinet – so we’re seeing successive administrations across the political spectrum commit to improving the standing of cyber security in Australia,” added Sloan. “Modern life is only going to get more digital, so governments around the world must understand that continued investment in cybersecurity is one of the most critical ways to protect their citizens and ways of life.”

One way 89% of Australians identified they’d like the government to step up is by increasing cyber security requirements for all organisations that store publicly identifiable information (PII). Support for increased government requirements was strongest amongst Baby Boomers (95%) and lowest for Generation Z (83%).

“When we talk about cyber security requirements, it’s important that we review existing regulatory frameworks to avoid any unnecessary duplication and draw on international, globally harmonised ICT standards where appropriate,” Sloan said.

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