Self-education cap risks cyber-security

12 JUNE 2013

Australia will be at a greater risk of cybercrime and cyber-terror because of a recent federal government decision to cap tax-deductions for self-education expenses, according to a CSU expert.

Australia will be at a greater risk of cybercrime and cyber-terror because of a recent federal government decision to cap tax-deductions for self-education expenses, according to a Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert.
CSU School of Computing and Mathematics adjunct lecturer and Global Institute for Cyber Security and Research regional director, Dr Craig Wright, said the $2 000 yearly cap was ‘shortsighted’  and risked leaving Australia’s online economy open to attack.
Dr Wright said the cap would increase the cost of a Masters-level education by up to $15 000.
“This is clearly an imposition of additional costs against people who are often already struggling to justify taking further education, and it has real implications for the ability of people to undertake further education in a technical field,” he said.
“Career learning in information systems or information technology does not end when one has gained a qualification.
“Education is an ongoing requirement in this industry, and this is particularly true when it comes to risk and security.”
Dr Wright said if Australia’s online economy was to grow, consumers had to trust the underlying systems.
“To do this we need trained professionals who understand risk and can help defend against cybercrime and cyber-terror,” he said.
“This is a dynamic field which changes on a daily basis. New attacks and new defences offer a consistently moving target that requires the information security professional to update their skills on a regular basis.
“But at the same time the industry is are calling for more trained security professionals, and more places in universities, the government is increasing the cost and hence driving potential students away from this field of study.”
Dr Wright said cybercrime cost the Australian economy between $1.5 and $2 billion in the 2011-12 tax year, and attacks were increasing at a rate of about 25 per cent each year.
“It is estimated that we will require at least 20 000 more trained risk and security professionals in Australia by 2015 if we are to maintain a robust, trusted online economy,” he said.
“This figure is expected to grow to 50 000 additional personnel before 2020.
“Australia’s growing online economy is already a prime target for cybercrime and any policy which restricts our ability to meet the need for trained security professionals exacerbates the risk.”

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