In partnership with CSIRO's digital technology team and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), CSIRO Futures developed this report on the opportunities and challenges that cybersecurity will present in our increasingly digital economy.
The report highlights specific trends and scenarios in healthcare, energy and government services, and presents a high-level roadmap for addressing the challenges presented by the rapidly changing nature of cyberthreats.
Enabling Australia’s Digital Future: Cybersecurity trends and implications
The report contains a series of three potential cybersecurity scenarios for the future, covering the following sectors:
By 2025, the electricity grid is highly automated and use of 'smart' digital meters is widespread. A disgruntled employee, operating alone, is able to tunnel into an unprotected part of the system and shut down the grid during a heatwave, causing major power outages across the country, lost earnings in the billions of dollars, and several suspected fatalities.
Digital services are now used widely throughout Australian healthcare but security and compliance processes have struggled to keep up. By 2023, widespread fraud from both individual practitioners and cybercrime rings is costing the system up to $16bn in fraudulent claims — equivalent to 10 per cent of Australia's total healthcare spending. Some criminals are even hacking into sensitive patient records and charging hospitals 'ransoms' of up to millions of dollars to get control back.
When 'hacktivists' — hackers motivated by ideological or political values — breach a set of classified government records, an unknown third party uses the same method to steal large volumes of citizen data. The Government reacts by taking every impacted department offline — resulting in widespread public outcry at the disruption caused to trade and public services, in addition to fears about identity theft and exposure of individuals' personal data.