Interview with Neil Breen, Radio 4BC

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The Hon Andrew Hastie MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

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Ella Kenny 0437 702 111

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15 September 2021

NEIL BREEN: Andrew Hastie is the Assistant Minister for Defence. He joins me on the line. Assistant Minister, tell us about cyber attacks in Queensland why are they happening here?

THE HON ANDREW HASTIE MP, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: G’day, Neil. Good to be with you and your Queensland listeners. Look, there's no real reason why Queensland has had the largest share of attacks over the last year. As a country, we've seen a 13 per cent uptick of reported cyber incidents to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, but for some reason Queensland has peaked. I think the real message for your listeners is that they have an important role to play in their own personal security when it comes to cyber security and taken as a whole, as a country, we need to uplift to protect our digital sovereignty. And so that's why for the last 6 months or so I've been talking about using complex passphrases; patching your security software, for your phones and your iPads; backing up your data; and using multi-factor authentication. While I'm on this point, Neil, I think it's important for your listeners to patch their iPhone software, if they don't know about it yet – yesterday, there was an alert sent out – please, if you've got an iPhone, iPad, patch your software. It's an important thing to do.

NEIL BREEN: How do we do that? Like, a lot of people, would be daunted by it. You know, they just want their phone. It used to be on the wall. Now it's in their pocket. They just want it to work. You know what I mean? How do they do that?

ANDREW HASTIE: Yeah, that's right. Well, I mean, phones these days are pretty straightforward. You know, I'm not going to talk people through the, you know, the settings of their phone on the radio, but certainly, you know, Apple and Android, they push these security updates, and it's on the owner of the phone to upload them and install them, that can take a little bit of time, but it's so important to protect yourself. We're seeing all sorts of things: people's private information being stolen, people's money being stolen, people being scammed. And I guess the message for your listeners this morning is it's a dangerous world online for Australians. We need to use our wits. We certainly need to verify things. There's been a lot of fraudulent activity, and the threat is growing more sophisticated. So there are things that they can do, there are things that our government is absolutely doing. The Australian Cyber Security Centre, headquartered in Canberra, is a standing 24/7 taskforce looking at this problem. It's got Australia's back. It partners with businesses and people, it sends out alerts so that people are aware of what the latest threats are, and, of course, they partner with the Australian Signals Directorate, the Australian Federal Police and state law enforcement as well to hunt down these cyber criminals who are stealing and creating all sorts of issues online for everyday Australians.

NEIL BREEN: Online, the key thing is Andrew Hastie, if it doesn't look right, it won’t be right?

ANDREW HASTIE: That's true. Trust but verify is how I put it. When you're sending an email, for example, for business, use multi-factor authentication: get another piece of security between you and the person you're doing a transaction with because we're seeing a lot of fraudulent activity for business emails, people impersonating vendors or other businesses. And of course, you know, through the cybercrime reports that get submitted to the ACSC, we've lost nearly $33 billion last year. I mean, this is big money that goes to the heart of our prosperity of the country and, as I said, individuals can take charge of their own destiny and security by doing some basic things as I outlined.

NEIL BREEN: Andrew Hastie, Assistant Minister for Defence, thanks so much for your time this morning.

ANDREW HASTIE: Pleasure, Neil. Good to chat to you.

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