Australia’s cyber security research organisation, the Oceania Cyber Security Centre, has called on policy makers, industry and research communities to place a greater emphasis on improving cyber security resilience to protect the national interests of Australia, and its close neighbour states across the Oceania region.

OCSC chairman Cameron Boardman told the inaugural OCSC Project Showcase event in Melbourne on Friday that the rapid growth and proliferation of notifiable data breaches was proof that Australia and its smaller neighbouring island states remain ill-equipped to deal with arguably “the most proximate and prominent threat to their respective economic and national security”.

“The number of notifiable data breaches is growing steadily and significantly. Understanding where the gaps are is critical to lessening the ability of bad actors or cyber criminals to attack a nation, its peoples and their allies,” Boardman warned.

“It’s also important to note the stepping stones or ‘hop points’ for a cyber attack are not just limited to smaller, developing economies. There are examples of cyber attacks where trusted suppliers in ‘developed’ economies have been infiltrated to gain access upstream into more secure environments.”

The OCSC’s eight university partners, and the over 120 specialist information technology and cyber security researchers within them, provide the foundation to work with private enterprises and the public sector to identify and develop solutions to complex security threats.

“The OCSC is committed to working with the Australian and regional governments to prioritise and drive projects that can help build national cyber security capacity across Australia and the region and create a free and safe cyber space for all,” Boardman said.

The project showcase event provided an opportunity for leading cyber security researchers from OCSC member universities to present current proof of concept projects to an audience of 200 academic peers and industry representatives.

In total, nine first-round collaborative projects were showcased, demonstrating what the OSSC says is its broad range of current research fields.

Carsten Rudolph, Associate Professor for Cyber Security at Monash University and Oceania Cyber Security Centre director, said the event not only presented an opportunity to showcase the projects underway, but also provided a critical juncture between researchers and industry to strengthen opportunities for further collaboration and applications.

“An important part of our remit at OCSC is to not only showcase the available research but to catalyse collaboration opportunities between universities and the wider industry communities, including both private enterprise and the public sector,” Rudolph said.

“We are proud to present the first round of nine collaborative projects and we are committed to seeing them through to fruition as tools and solutions with real world practical applications that can improve the cyber security resilience of Australia and our neighbour states across Oceania.”