Canberra: The Australian government on Thursday launched a $180 million cyber security strategy, in an effort to shore up Australia`s defence against cyber attacks and online fraud.
According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the investment would assist individuals, businesses and the government in defending the nation from cyber crime, which some experts believe costs the economy more than $13 billion every year, Xinhua reported.
The plan would be implemented over the next four years, with the government focusing on establishing a national cyber security partnership with businesses and government, creating strong cyber defences, taking a global leadership role to advocate a "free" internet, and implementing an awareness campaign highlighting the risks of cyber attacks.
Speaking to the media, Turnbull said the internet must be a place in which all Australians feel safe.
"A secure cyberspace provides trust and confidence for individuals, business and the public sector to share ideas and information and to innovate online," Turnbull said on Thursday.
Also announced as part of the new cyber security strategy is offensive capabilities which would allow Australia to undertake its own cyber attacks, something the prime minister said was borne out of necessity.
Turnbull said that Australia was a prime target for hackers and cyber criminals, and a threat of strong retaliation could deter would-be hackers.
"Australia`s offensive cyber capabilities enable us to deter and respond to the threat of cyber attack," Turnbull`s statement, released on Thursday, reads.
In addition to the new strategy, Australian government will feature a new cabinet position, with an Assistant Minister for Cyber Security to be announced as part of the package.