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New ICT investments on ASIO's hit list

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has admitted “significant, ongoing investment” is needed to mitigate the threats posed by cyber criminals and tech-enabled “espionage, foreign interference, and malicious insiders”.

"Transforming existing agency information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to effectively exploit new capabilities, manage the large volume and variety of data available, and to be adapted easily to new technologies is a major challenge, and one that will require significant, ongoing investment," the agency said in the recently released Annual Report 2017.

Bigger Picture

The report provides clues as to where ASIO will direct the undisclosed amount of funding it had received in the 2017-18 federal budget, which was allocated to ASIO and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service to support operations and strengthen capabilities.

Shoring up the IT underpinning Australia’s intelligence bodies is one of many recommendations made in the government’s 2017 Independent Intelligence Review to ensure these entities are adequately prepared for the modern operational environment. The review was released in July 2017.

The review and other factors have prompted reforms of Australia’s intelligence, security and law enforcement landscape, which will including the establishment of new Home Affairs portfolio modelled on the United Kingdom’s Home Office.

Project specifics

“Rapid technological change” is posing a growing challenge to ASIO’s operating environment, with “new tools” continually being developed to conceal the activities of people threatening Australia’s security. The widespread use of encrypted communications by security intelligence targets is a “particular concern”, which could lead to investment in new tools and capabilities to counter these threats.

As well as continued investments in ICT capabilities to cope with a changing operating environment, explicitly on the agenda for the short-to-medium term is the agency’s “enterprise technology program”. Intended to shore up its internal ICT environment, the program will result in a ‘data-enabled organisation’ that will enable ASIO to “excel in using technology and data to achieve our purpose”.

Another key body of work is improving connectivity of ICT systems across the entire national security ecosystem to improve collaboration on counter-terrorism issues.

Category: IT Services; Software; Labour Hire; Hardware

Source: Annual Report 2017

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