The forum, hosted at Adelaide's TAFE SA, included an introduction to TAFE SA’s new cyber courses and an education and skills panel, discussing how people can develop cyber security skills and benefit from the huge employment opportunities in the lucrative US$126 billion cyber security market.
The forum was part of the state government’s Cyber Ready series aimed at building cyber awareness and security among South Australian companies, including those bidding for work in the defence industry.
Defence and Space Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the forum strengthens SA’s reputation as a hub of cyber security and builds the state’s cyber capabilities, which are vital to the defence sector.
"South Australia is home to some of the world’s most complex projects, including the upcoming naval shipbuilding program, so it is important our companies are armed with cyber-ready capabilities," Minister Hamilton-Smith said.
"The state has been working to reinvent itself through defence and shipbuilding contracts. But what’s also emerged is a fierce start-up culture and a very strong cyber security sector. For example, we are now home to major cyber security firms including NEC and Veroguard."
The recent cyber hack, which saw sensitive information about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter stolen from a small business, is a timely reminder of the risks cyber vulnerability poses to the defence industry, the minister said.
"Just recently we saw how cyber vulnerability is a very real and serious threat in the defence industry, with hackers stealing sensitive information on several major projects, including the Joint Strike Fighter," Minister Hamilton-Smith said.
"We are working to establish South Australia as a hub for cyber security, which will not only protect our sensitive information and defence projects from cyber-attacks, but generate huge employment opportunities for our local workforce."
SA is currently in the process of establishing an Australian Cyber Security (AustCyber) Growth Network node, which will boost cyber capabilities, innovation and collaboration efforts with other states and territory nodes across the AustCyber network.
The state is also looking at developing a cyber strategy for SA.
Minister Hamilton-Smith said the government is working with industry, TAFE SA and other educational institutions to offer much-needed skillsets and career opportunities for the cyber security sector.
"Working closely with industry and educational institutions, we will ensure our young people are equipped with cyber security skills and are aware of the high-tech career opportunities in cyber security right here in SA," he said.