Australia’s four major political parties have been granted $300,000 to shore-up their systems following Russia’s alleged cyber interference in the 2016 US election. The funding will be made available to the parties in the form of voter information protection grants that will be administered by the Department of Finance over the second half of 2018. The Liberal, Nationals, Labor and Greens parties will use the grants to “improve security of their constituent management systems and associated data, including information pertaining to the electoral rolls and voter information”. The funding follows a series of briefings on the security threat to Australia’s elections between Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and party leaders in early 2017.
The briefings were called for by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the wake of widespread accusations of Russia meddling in the US national vote.
“You can have flaws in the hardware that provide vulnerabilities, flaws in the software, and as I often say is the biggest vulnerability is the warmware, the humans making mistake, or taking information as Edward Snowden did,” Turnbull said at the time.
He also pointed to the ASD’s “very good” cyber principles as a means to “practise good cyber hygiene”.