THE current threat of global cyber warfare is on a par with the way the nuclear arms race dominated the world's concerns last century and urgently needs to be curbed, a federal minister is warning.

Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor will today unveil the new National Cyber Agenda that aims to de-escalate cyber-attacks as he vows to continue to name and shame any foreign government that supports a cyber-attack on Australia.

"This is a threat on a scale that we hadn't previously anticipated, we are now regularly seeing cyber-attacks coming from state-sponsored players, North Korea, Iran, Russia," Mr Taylor said.

Australian Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor speaks at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: AAP
Australian Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor speaks at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: AAP

The new agenda will include a commitment to "attribute" attacks to those responsible.

"When we know who has attacked us we will call it out - in the past countries have been timid in calling out."

Mr Taylor will make a speech in Canberra today outlining the new agenda and will note the similarities between current cyber warfare threats and the escalation of the nuclear arms race in the 1950s and 1960s.

"The parallels are you can take down an economy (with a cyber attack), you can take down a society and you can take down a country - if you destroy a country's financial systems or critical infrastructure, frankly that country can't function potentially for an extended period of time. The consequences can be devastating," he said.

"The risk with cyber is we see an escalation as we saw with nuclear in the 1950s and 1960s and we are going to need to do everything we can to stop, curb or manage that escalation."

The threat of a major cyber attack in Australia is real and immediate.
The threat of a major cyber attack in Australia is real and immediate.

Mr Taylor said countries waging cyber warfare would be a "calamitous situation" and warned criminal cyber-attacks - which are usually an attempt to fleece unsuspecting people of money - are "increasing dramatically".

"(There have also been) much more sophisticated attacks on businesses, in the last couple of months we've seen businesses compromised on a scale we've never seen before."

Mr Taylor said defending the country from cyber-attacks was entirely different to traditional defence tactics involving the Army.

Under the new agenda the government will "step up" efforts to fight cyber-attacks and work closely with industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

"We will be taking a lead but we need others to lead with us - we simply won't succussed alone," Mr Taylor said.



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