RMIT’s new Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation (CCSRI) has joined with the University Foreign Interference Taskforce (UFIT) to lead a national cybersecurity project for the tertiary sector.

The CCSRI will manage the project as part of a Federal Government Cyber Security grant of $1.6 million to enhance the cyber security of Australia’s universities, announced earlier in 2020.  

CCSRI Director, Professor Matt Warren, said the centre was uniquely placed to assist in developing the sector-wide threat modelling and threat intelligence-sharing network outlined in the Australian government’s funding package.

“We are a leading source of knowledge and expertise in multi-disciplinary cyber security research and innovation, strategy advice, workforce development and community awareness,” Professor Warren said. 

Announcing funding for the new taskforce in June 2020, Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, said the Federal Government would work with the higher education sector to protect students, research and academic integrity at Australian universities.  

Outlining the role of the taskforce as part of that announcement, he said that the development of threat modelling and intelligence sharing between universities and government would help identify new and emerging threats as well as best-practice responses.

Building on the University’s depth of expertise, the CCSRI brings together leading capabilities across multiple disciplines including business, computer science, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship to address cyber security threats.

The Centre also works closely with the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub and the RMIT Cyber Ready Cloud Innovation Centre, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The Government will fund:

  • A threat intelligence-sharing network
  • Sector-wide threat modelling
  • A national cybersecurity forum that will meet three times a year

Mr Tehan said cyber security was every Australian’s responsibility.

“Our Government is working with the higher education sector to protect students, research and academic integrity at our universities,” Mr Tehan said.

“Enhancing cyber security in the higher education sector has been a core task of Government, universities and national security agencies working through the University Foreign Interference Taskforce.

“The development of threat modelling and intelligence sharing between universities and government will help identify new and emerging threats as well as best-practice responses.

“A unified approach to cyber security gives Australia the opportunity to harness the innovative power of its universities to strengthen our national security and advance our nation as a leader in cyber security.

“We have seen our universities targeted by malicious cyber actors and this project will strengthen our collective defences against future threats.

“Enhancing cyber security was a key recommendation made in The Guidelines for countering foreign interference in the Australian University Sector published last year.”

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