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Australia launches $89 million cyber crime centre

The centre will be led by the police and bolster the nation’s cyber security capabilities

The Australian government has launched a new cyber crime centre as part of its cyber security measures.

The new centre, named the Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre (JPC3), is based in the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) New South Wales headquarters and is led by the police. 

It has been established through $89 million in funding, which is part of the government’s $1.67 billion Cyber Security Strategy,

This comes after the government launched Australia’s National Plan to Combat Cybercrime which was endorsed by Commonwealth, State, and Territory Police ministers last week. It sets out a framework for enhanced collaboration between Commonwealth, State, and Territory partners to combat evolving cyber crime threats.

As part of this, the Cybercrime Capability Fund has been established to support an uplift in national enforcement capabilities and responses to cyber crime, with funding of $30.9 million over three years. The ministers endorsed the spending of $10.3 million on 12 projects identified for funding, including software procurement, technical capability development, and operational collaboration on cyber crime.

The National Plan and the new cyber crime centre is set to bring together the experience, powers, capabilities, and intelligence needed to build a strong, multi-faceted response to the problem of cyber crime, said minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews.

“I’m serious about enforcing the law and protecting Australia’s digital future, which is why the plan is backed up by the resources, intelligence, and capabilities of a new AFP-led cybercrime centre,” she said. “Using far-reaching Commonwealth legislation and high-end technical capabilities, the AFP’s new cybercrime centre will aggressively target cyber threats, shut them down, and bring offenders to justice.”

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This isn’t the only way the government has been trying to boost the nation’s cyber security capabilities, as in February it proposed changes to laws that would see hackers face up to 25 years in jail if found guilty of cyber offences against the country’s critical infrastructure. The government said it wanted to ensure that any computer offence against Australia’s infrastructure carried an appropriate penalty and deterred would-be offenders.

In December last year, the Australia and US also signed the CLOUD Act data-sharing deal to support criminal investigations. This will make it easier for the two countries to access and exchange data for investigations of serious crime, like terrorism, child sexual abuse, or ransomware attacks.

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