Strengthening cyber security defences

A consortium including Optus and La Trobe University have announced that they have been awarded $550,000 by AustCyber, the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, through a fund-matching scheme for a project to strengthen Australia’s cyber security defences.

The winning solution, a Cyber Intrusion Detection System, was originally developed by Cybermerc, who will act as the consortium lead on the project. The solution is created with custodians of critical infrastructure in mind, employing technology developed by, a business unit of the Australian cyber security company Penten and one of nine chosen from a pool of more than 50 applications.

This project aims to deliver a next-generation Intrusion Detection System (IDS) that exposes sophisticated cyber actors inside high-value target networks. The solution uses deception techniques and analysis of attacker’s psychology. This intelligence is used to identify actors inside these high value targets to significantly reduce the time from compromise to containment.

This unique approach is made possible through a collaboration of industry and academic stakeholders.

The successful funding allocation resulted from a cyber security partnership between Optus and La Trobe, which also led to the recruitment of respected cyber academic Professor Jill Slay to the role of Optus Cyber Chair last year.

“Industry and academia are joining forces using innovation and clever thinking to solve real world problems,” Professor Slay said.

“Our new solution will fill a much-needed security gap in the market. Not only will it help secure the integrity of private sector networks, it will also provide a new source of intelligence on emerging cyber threats. We hope our approach will ultimately have a wide range of commercial applications for Australian businesses seeking to fight malicious digital attacks.”

The industry initiative will also involve La Trobe University students studying undergraduate and post-graduate cyber security courses, giving them real world experience while still at University and ensuring they graduate ready for a successful career in the booming cyber sector.

John Paitaridis, Managing Director, Optus Business, said: “This project is a great example of the vision we had for our partnership with La Trobe University – bringing together industry experience with academia excellence to address the cyber security issues facing Australian enterprises and governments. Additionally, we’re actively building the skills needed to create the workforce of the future and bridge the current skills gap by giving students hands on experience.”

“The key to innovation is collaboration. Optus is excited to be working with AustCyber, La Trobe and our other consortium partners to solve cyber security challenges for industry, especially in the area of critical infrastructure.”

In January, AustCyber called for expression of interest from industry-led cyber security projects which demonstrate a national benefit, clear commercialisation application, and implementation timeframe of a year or less.

Michelle Price, AustCyber CEO, outlined the purpose of the fund matching scheme.

“The growing demand for cyber security products and services provides a significant economic opportunity for Australia. This consortium is a fantastic example of the industry-led, collaborative projects we are supporting that have a national benefit for Australia and focus on the unique strengths and advantages we have in our local marketplace.”

Media contact: Tim Mitchell - 0437 457 780 /