A NEW plan to deal with the growing problem of cybercrime will make it harder for sophisticated criminal operations to target Australian internet users, Shayne Neumann told a gathering of organised crime experts in Brisbane.
The National Plan to Combat Cybercrime, unveiled on Monday, was devised by Australia's attorneys-general and police ministers.
It calls for a collaborative approach to tackling cybercrime, which has affected 72% of Australians who used the internet in their lifetime.
While there are no official figures, the cost of cybercrime to Australia is estimated to run into the billions each year.
Mr Neumann, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General, told the International Serious and Organised Crime Conference in Brisbane the plan was an Australian first.
"While the potential of the internet and digital economy is clearly a significant opportunity for Australia, it is also emerging as a key enabler for organised crime," Mr Neumann said.
"The openness and accessibility that underpin many of the benefits of the internet also give cybercriminals an unparalleled ability to target individual Australians and businesses."
Mr Neumann highlighted the recent spate of offshore investment fraud targeting retiring Australians to make his point.
More than 2000 victims of such scams have already been identified, with losses of more than $110 million.
Mr Neumann said the establishment of the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network was one of the most important features of the plan.
The ACORN will provide a central point for people to report cybercrime, and will also include material that will assist users to protect themselves online.
"Currently, many instances of cybercrime go unreported, because victims do not know where to report, or are reluctant to do so," he said.
"This inhibits agencies' ability to respond and limits our overall understanding of the scope of the cybercrime threat."
The system is being developed and is expected to be up and running by the middle of next year.
Mr Neumann said the plan built on the National Security Strategy, which identified malicious online actors as a key threat to Australia's social and economic wellbeing.
Key priorities of the National Plan to Combat Cybercrime
- Educating the community to protect themselves.
- Partnering with industry to tackle the shared problem of cybercrime.
- Fostering an intelligence-led approach and better information sharing.
- Improving the capacity and capability of our agencies to address cybercrime.
- Strengthening international engagement on cybercrime.
- Ensuring our criminal justice framework keeps pace with technological change.
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