India and Australia join forces to boost cyber security

India and Australia are working together to train cybersecurity professionals, as the world moves rapidly into the digital realm.

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India and Australia are gearing up to become world leading cybersecurity partners and well-placed to be global powerhouses in their own right. India is world-renowned for IT expertise, and accounts for approximately 55 per cent of the US$190 billion global services sourcing market in 2017-18. An estimated 75 per cent of the world’s digital talent is located in India, with the country’s technology and technology-enabled services industry is growing quickly.

India already has more than 1000 global delivery centres in 80 countries across the world, and leading Indian IT firms like Infosys, Wipro, TCS and Tech Mahindra are flexing their innovative muscles in blockchain, artificial intelligence and research and development. Expectations are so optimistic in India, that Indian technology companies collectively predict the nation’s digital economy to reach US$4 trillion by 2022.

Staying ahead of the ballgame

Australia’s prowess in cybersecurity is equally impressive. With proven research in quantum computing, its maturing services economy and quality education system, Australia is positioned to rapidly grow its cybersecurity industry.

It's cyber security industry has the potential to almost triple in size, with predictions revenues could reach AUD$6 billion by 2026, from just over AUD$2 billion in 2017. Australia’s reputation as being at the forefront of online safety and security, means Indian companies look to Australia for supply and partnership opportunities.

Australia is also respected in the Indian market for it’s training and research capabilities. With estimates there will be as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions in the industry by 2021, Australian universities and companies are well equipped to help meet this skills gaps.

Professor Asha Rao, RMIT’s Associate Dean in mathematical sciences, says Australia is leading the way in developing the next wave of cybersecurity experts. “From an education point of view, we have been running a Master of Cyber Security, it was called a Master of Information Security previously, for the last 20 years,” she said.

“So in many ways, Australia is ahead of the ball game.”

Facing the reality of a digital world

As the world’s reliance on connected devices grow, more organisations become vulnerable to attacks.

India in particular is facing the double-edged sword that comes from its evolving digital economy. Cyberattacks cost India an estimated $4 billion annually and with the increase in digital payments, it could soar to $20 billion by 2025.

Organisations needed cybersecurity professionals need them to hit the ground running and preferably to have experience on their side. Prof Rao says graduates at RMIT are ready to launch into the industry thanks to experience gained through internships.

“Everybody wants a cybersecurity expert who has experience, but you have to have a job to get experience,” she said.

“People ultimately do have to take people and train them up. We are also training them here by trying to get them internships so the company can try them out.

“Businesses are always asking for interns. All the big names - the big four accounting firms, the banks, Coles - they all want interns.”

The skills shortage for cybersecurity professionals correlates to the ever-increasing number of electronic devices in our connected lifestyles. With every new device, comes more risk.

This is particularly the case with the Internet of Things (IoT) said Associate Professor Serdar Boztas, program manager of RMIT’s Master of Cyber Security.

“Basically what’s happening is a lot of devices are being connected to the internet, fridges and others in the kitchen, and devices like Alexa that help people around the house,” he said.

“These devices are not designed with security as a priority and they’re also being deployed in massive numbers.

“Botnets, which are basically PCs and laptops on the internet that are taken over without their owners knowing and possibly used for attacks on other PCs, is what

hackers do. So basically you could have a botnet of fridges and it would be very simple to assemble.

“This stuff is changing so fast we can’t even necessarily know or predict where the next big risk is going to come from.”

India and Australia are poised to tackle the challenges of cybersecurity head-on. As the threat of cybercrime and need for cybersecurity expertise grows, both countries stand to gain much from each other’s strengthening cyber industries.

The future promises mutual skills exchanges, surging job opportunities and economic advances for both countries.

Story: Kate Jones 

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

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