Australia has created its first military cyber division to expand hacking attacks on foreign enemies, including IS militants,a government minister said on Friday.
The team which likely to have 900 people, will be launched within days and will be a central part of Australia’s defence operations, ABC News reported.
Approximately cybercrime wil be costing the Australian economy at least AU$1 billion per year. Considering this factor, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has directed the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to use its offensive cyber capabilities to "disrupt, degrade, deny, and deter" organised offshore cyber criminals.
"This is a result of the changing character of contemporary conflict," Dan Tehan, the minister assisting the prime minister on cyber security, was quoted as saying by Reuters Friday.
The new unit, known as the information warfare division, will allow Australia to increase the sort of cyber attacks made on Islamic State militants.
Cyber attacks supplement air strikes and other warfare activities that are part of Australia's role in the US-led coalition battling Islamic State, the country's defense force said.
The new unit will also be responsible for defending Australia's armed forces against cyber attacks, Tehan added. “Another government agency will expand its remit from defense to begin cyber attacks on offshore criminals,” he said.
The moves come follows global cyber assaults, including one this week that originated in Ukraine and the WannaCry ransomware attack in May, which have infected systems in nearly 100 countries.
The government will use $400 million kept aside in last year's Defence White Paper to hire cyber specialists.
Professor Greg Austin from the University of New South Wales said it as one of the major transformations in defence strategy. "The main angle of cyber war is to prevent the enemy's armed forces from reaching the start line of battle," he said.
The aim is to stop their ships being able to sail, stop their jet aircraft from being able to drop bombs and to stop their submarines dead in the water, he added.