Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert have announced a collaboration between Telstra, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and Services Australia that is boosting Australia’s cyber resilience.
The new pilot program will identify and reject illegitimate phishing text messages that are impersonating myGov and Centrelink before they reach Telstra customers.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the ACSC’s unique insights into the trade-craft and motivations of cyber criminals has been a key contribution to this pilot.
"Cyber security is a whole of community effort. This pilot program, which will eventually lead to industry-wide solutions, demonstrates how government and industry can work together to better protect Australians from cyber threats," Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said protecting all Australians from cyber crime is a key priority of the Morrison government.
"The government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 contains initiatives to address the scourge of cyber crime. I welcome this pilot as an illustration of what government and industry can do working together to stop cyber criminals ripping-off innocent Australians," Minister Dutton said.
Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said it is more important than ever to protect Services Australia customers who may not be able to recognise a genuine communication from a scam.
"In the 2019-20 financial year, almost 920 Services Australia customers reported scam losses totalling more than $6.4 million — an increase of $500,000 from the previous year, with SMS in the top five methods that scammers used," Minister Robert said.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn said it is more important than ever to protect its customers.
"Cyber criminals continue to target Australians through SMS phishing campaigns by sending them text messages that attempt to redirect them to malicious websites. Being able to stop these scammers in their tracks will go a long way to protecting our customers," he said.
Expanding on this, Penn added, "This work also aligns with Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy and the recommendations from the Industry Advisory Panel, which we look forward to helping implement in conjunction with the government, business and the community."
Telstra is already supporting this objective through its Cleaner Pipes initiative announced in May, and is incorporating the same technology across its own network, to help filter out malicious text messages impersonating Telstra that are being sent to its own customers.