OzTech: NSW seeks to bolster semiconductor industry; 4 unis suffered cyberattacks; MacTel DC still awaiting approval; WA creative tech hub; Ransomware targets liquidators

OzTech Roundup is Computerworld Australia’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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NSW hopes to tap into semiconductor industry

The New South Wales government has created the Semiconductor Sector Service Bureau (S3B) with the goal to enhance the capability, workforce, market connectedness, and competitiveness of NSW’s and Australia’s semiconductor sector.

S3B’s creation was a recommendation of the 2020 Australian Semiconductor Sector Study. It is formed by the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, UNSW Sydney, Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, and the Australian National Fabrication Facility.

S3B will address market frictions and failures that curtail NSW’s and Australia’s ability to participate in global semiconductor markets. It has the role of advocating for the sector, connecting companies and researchers with design and manufacturers globally, said director Nadia Court from the Sydney Nanoscience Hub.

4 universities experienced a significant cybersecurity incident in 2021

The New South Wales Audit Office found that out of 13 universities in the state, four suffered a significant cybersecurity incident in 2021, with one not reporting the incident to their governance committee as they deemed the event low-risk because the threat actor did not ultimately gain access to sensitive or financial data.

All four universities undertook procedures to contain, evaluate, and respond to the incident and applied preventative controls against future incidents.

The financial impact of a cyberattack to a university is estimated to range in between $5 million and $239 million, said the report. This is especially due to confidential research, intellectual property, and copyrighted material.

Also concerning was the finding of 45 repeat findings of control deficiencies. All universities have drafted or implemented a cybersecurity policy and established a governance committee accountable for cybersecurity. However, the report found improvements could be made in recording and monitoring of attempted cybersecurity incidents, assessing cybersecurity risks relating to IT vendors, and implementation of cybersecurity control measures for key systems.

Ultimately, the report recommends universities and controlled entities should prioritise improvements to their cybersecurity and resilience. Specific actions include:

  • implementing appropriate cybersecurity mitigation strategies to key systems (the crown jewels).
  • having processes whereby the head of the entity and those charged with governance formally accept the residual risks where current cybersecurity-control measures have not addressed all identified risks.

MacTel still having trouble with promised data centre

Macquarie Telecom is still waiting approval to begin the expansion of its IC3 data centre announced in August 2018. The publicly listed organisation published an update saying after 12 months of lodging its development applications the approval is yet to be obtained, with MacTel now expecting it to happen “between late calendar year 2022 and mid calendar year 2023”.

Currently, its Macquarie Park data centre campus has a 17MW capacity, with the expansion the company expects that to become 50MW.

As reported by Computerworld Australia in July 2021, the company was unable to clarify how much of the “newly announced” 32MW was actually new at the time.

Western Australia announced creative tech hub

The Western Australia government is investing $1.2 million over the next four years to establish a creative technology hub in Bunbury. The goal is to assist in growing a future-ready workforce, entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators in the state and its regions. The hub will focus on creative digital industries including gaming, experiential and immersive technology, software development, product design, advertising, film, and media.

The hub is expected to support “hundreds” of businesses with specialised advice and services.

ASIC warns of ransomware impacting liquidators

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has issued a warning about a ransomware attack on “systems located in the cloud” which resulted in significant disruption to several registered liquidators.

It is unclear if the systems have been breached or information accessed, but liquidators get access to all financial data pertaining to organisations that find themselves in liquidation.

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