The Australian government has announced a new bill aimed at strengthening Australia's cyber security laws, the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill (Bill). The Bill amends various criminal and communications legislation, significantly tightening Australia's laws in this area.
The Bill targets online fraud, child pornography, copyright offences and security breaches (including offences against confidentiality and integrity of computer systems) and brings Australia's communications laws into alignment with international conventions.
Middletons partner, Dudley Kneller said, "These changes will align Australian laws with international standards, so Australia can accede to the Convention which more than 40 countries have already signed.
“Given the cross border nature of cybercrime offences, clearly a high degree of international cooperation is required."
In relation to security breaches, the Attorney General stated that within the last six months more than 250,000 pieces of information have been stolen by hackers, including passwords, contact details and account information.
"This highlights the scale of current cyber crime activities and why the government has decided to act." said Mr Kneller.
Mr Kneller said, "Data security is a particularly hot topic at the moment with a string of highly publicised cyber attacks.
Earlier this month Citigroup announced that hackers had accessed an online facility used by customers to manage their credit cards.
Sony's online gaming system was also recently breached, allowing unauthorised access to the account information of more than 100 million users.
Similar security breaches have also occurred over the last few months in relation to Citigroup, The Australian Institute of Company Directors, RSA Security and Distribute IT in
Mr Kneller added, "All these breaches expose organisations and their customers to the risk of identity theft, fraud and phishing scams. In addition the threat to reputation, the costs incurred to remedy and potential exposure to privacy and confidentiality breaches are likely to see such proposed changes cautiously welcomed."
"The Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 is the first of many necessary steps towards combating cybercrime, and dealing with the incidences of security breaches which are becoming more prolific," he said.