Portfolio Media

VIC WATER, TRANSPORT SYSTEMS OPEN TO CYBER-TERRORISM UNDER BRUMBY

06-October-2010

The Auditor-General has issued a scathing report today exposing the Brumby Government’s failure to maintain the security of critical infrastructure control systems.

The Security of Infrastructure Control Systems for Water and Transport audit examined four critical infrastructure operators in the water sector and one in transport to assess whether their infrastructure control systems were secure.

The Auditor-General found the reliance on information technology to control such infrastructure ‘poses major risks to the government’s computer systems and to the essential services and critical infrastructure they support’ and that ‘if not properly controlled, unauthorised individuals … can interfere with these operations from remote locations, for mischievous or malicious purposes, including fraud or sabotage’ (p1).

In a chilling conclusion, the Auditor-General found that ‘operator control systems for critical infrastructure are not secure. As a result, the ongoing delivery of essential water and transport services is at risk’. He also reported that “the risk of unauthorised access to water and transport infrastructure control systems is high” (pp 5 and viii).

“After 11 years in office, the Brumby Government’s incompetence has put Victoria’s most critical water and transport infrastructure at serious risk of attack by cyber-terrorists,” Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships Michael O’Brien said today.

“Whether the motive is terrorism, malicious hacking or financial gain, people and organisations will seek to improperly access critical infrastructure control systems, and the report quotes ASIO’s warning that ‘Australia will continue to face a persistent threat of terrorism, espionage, and foreign interference, including cyber threats’ (p1).

“The Auditor-General’s report shows John Brumby has left Victorians dangerously exposed to a potential crisis by failing to ensure that infrastructure control systems are as secure as possible.

“Sadly, it is a question of not if but when our infrastructure will come under attack from those with malicious intent. This report shows that our water and transport infrastructure are hugely vulnerable to such attacks because of the Brumby Government’s incompetence,” Mr O’Brien said.