Compliance with the NSW Cyber Security Policy

November 2, 2021

Cyber security is increasingly a focus of governments around Australia. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is the Australian Government’s lead agency for cyber security and is part of the Australian Signals Directorate, a statutory authority within the Australian Government’s Defence portfolio. The ACSC has advised that government agencies at all levels, as well as individuals and other organisations were increasingly targeted over the 2021 financial year. The ACSC received over 67,500 cybercrime reports, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year. This equates to one reported cyber attack every eight minutes. They also noted that attacks by cyber criminals and state actors are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex and that the attacks are increasingly likely to be categorised as ‘substantial’ in impact.

High profile attacks in Australia and overseas have included a sustained malware campaign targeted at the health sector, a phishing campaign deploying emotet malware, spear phishing campaigns targeting people with administrator or other high-level access, and denial of service attacks. The continuing trend towards digital delivery of government services has increased the vulnerability of organisations to cyber threats.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased these risks. It has increased Australian dependence on the internet – to work remotely, to access services and information, and to communicate and continue our daily lives. Traditional security policies within an organisation’s perimeter are harder to enforce in networks made up of home and other private networks, and assets the organisation does not manage. This has increased the cyber risks for NSW Government agencies.

In March 2020, Service NSW suffered two cyber security incidents in short succession. Technical analysis undertaken by the Department of Customer Service (DCS) concluded that these cyber breaches resulted from a phishing exercise through which external threat actors gained access to the email accounts of 47 staff members. These attacks resulted in the breach of a large amount of personal customer information contained in these email accounts. These attacks were the subject of the Auditor-General’s report on Service NSW’s handling of personal information tabled on 18 December 2020.

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About the Provider

Audit Office of New South Wales
The Audit Office of New South Wales is a statutory authority, established under the Government Sector Audit Act 1983, that conducts audits for the Auditor-General. These audits help Parliament hold government accountable for its use of public resources.


Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Policy, vulnerabilities