Threat-sharing network to battle health sector data breaches

2 minute read

The feds have recognised that healthcare is extremely vulnerable to cyberattack, with a $6.4m grant to build an information sharing and analysis centre.

The healthcare sector will be the guinea pig for the first Information Sharing and Analysis Centre set up outside Australia’s banking sector. 

On the weekend the federal government announced it was setting up a $6.4 million ISAC for the Australian healthcare system. 

“In Australia and around the world, these networks, which connect businesses and organisations across industries to help share information about cyber threats, as well as successful responses and preventative measures, have proven effective,” said the government announcement. 

There are already ISACs operating in banking and finance, but the government acknowledged that the time was “long overdue” to intervene in other high-risk sectors. 

“This pilot in healthcare is the first such intervention, but it will pave the way for additional ISACs to be established in other industries,” it said in the statement. 

“Healthcare faces a vulnerability trifecta,” said Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neill.  

“Cyber criminals know that every Australian depends on these essential services – and that they cannot afford to be offline over extended periods.  

“Healthcare providers tend to hold highly sensitive data, and they often struggle with building and funding strong cyber protections. 

“That’s why healthcare providers are one of the most common, and most damaging, targets of cyberattack. This is a pattern we see all over the world. 

“Make no mistake – we expect Australian healthcare providers to step up and protect our citizens wherever possible. But government, too, needs to give them a hand.” 

Applications for the grant are open until 23 July. 

According to the Australian Financial Review, the ISAC will connect big businesses, non-profits and government organisations working in health and hospitals, “speeding up indicators of cyber compromise, and spreading information about successful responses and preventative measures for cybercrime”. 

The Australian Signals Directorate hosts a national system which can feed information into the ISAC when appropriate. 

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