NSW govt seeks input on next cyber security strategy – Strategy – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The NSW government is seeking views from industry to help shape the state’s next cyber security strategy ahead of its launch later this year.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello on Tuesday called for input from industry partners and cyber security experts as development of the 2020 NSW Cyber Security Strategy ramps up.
The strategy will replace NSW’s 2018 cyber security strategy, which was the first to be released by the government and introduced a holistic approach to incident prevention and response.
It will also replace the separate, industry-focused cyber security strategy released by the government in November 2018 to support the growth of the state’s cyber security industry.
Dominello said involving industry experts and businesses in the new stategy’s development process was important to encourage the state’s vibrant cyber security industry.
He said the “comprehensive, sector-wide” strategy would ensure the government “continues to provide secure, trusted and resilient services in an ever-changing and developing environment”.
“The new strategy will be delivered through an integrated approach to prevent and respond to cyber security threats and safeguard our information, assets, services, businesses and citizens,” he said.
The strategy is also central to the state’s COVID-19 recovery, with $240 million allocated to cyber security over the next three years as part of a $1.6 billion investment in digital.
“The 2020 NSW Cyber Security Strategy will address the cyber workforce and skills gaps that are vital in attracting business investment and creating innovation jobs,” Dominello said.  
“It will support innovation and growth of the NSW cyber industry and cement NSW as the leading state for cyber security in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Cyber security will be a vital part of the technology community at Tech Central which will be a home for tech giants, new and innovative start-ups and leading talent all in one place.” 
Industry partners and cyber security experts can send their submission to the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy by emailing [email protected].

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NSW Health deploys Microsoft Teams to all 140,000 staff – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

NSW Health has equipped more than 100,000 staff with Microsoft Teams since the federal and state government ramped up their public health response to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
The department’s digital arm, eHealth NSW, on Monday said all of its more than 140,000 staff now had access to the unified collaboration platform, as well as Skype for Business. 
When the government’s pandemic shutdown began in mid-March, this figure stood at 34,000 – or less than a third of its total workforce.
Like most other workplaces, NSW Health, including local health districts and speciality health networks, have been directed to work from home where possible to limit the spread of the virus.
Clinicians have also been using Skype for Business to conduct face-to-face consultations virtually where in-person appointments have been disrupted.
This has also allowed clinicians who have needed to self-isolate to continue working.
eHealth NSW conference, collaboration and wireless program manager Jason Matthews said the rollout had enabled clinicians to continue to communicate remotely during the pandemic.
“What it’s doing is enabling NSW Health staff to work and collaborate remotely and safely, which during a global pandemic has never been more crucial,” he said.
Service delivery executive director Farhoud Sallimi said the surge in demand had been met by leveraging the agency’s “Amazon Web Services environment to scale out our Pexip capacity”.
Pexip is an enterprise videoconferencing platform. The vendor is based in Norway.
Early this year, eHealth NSW began brokering public cloud service from both AWS and Microsoft Azure in part to help scale up services in a more timely fashion.
Almost half a million direct person-to-person calls took place on Teams and Skype for Business in April – almost 25 times more calls than in April 2019.
More than 275,000 virtual meetings with a total of one million attendees also took place, compared with 18,000 meetings between 66,000 attendees the year before.
Other state health departments have also introduced Teams at lightning speed in response to the pandemic.
SA Health armed more than 40,000 of its staff with the platform in just a single week to ensure communication, particularly between clinical teams, could continue during the coronavirus crisis.

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How APIs helped NSW Health Pathology respond to COVID-19 – Strategy – Cloud – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

NSW Health Pathology relied on its investment in API-led connectivity over the past four years to rapidly build out “world-class” public facing services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Enterprise architect Tim Eckersley told the MuleSoft CONNECT digital summit last week the agency was able to move with speed in the early stages of COVID-19 thanks to its “large library of healthcare microservices”.
The “library of API-led microservices” has been developed over the past four years to allow “seamless integration between a very broad range of healthcare systems”.
He said that “each wave of delivery” had built up a “groundswell of microservices” which – although not always reusable straight away, “the reusable components gradually take a much more dominant posture and provide a really solid launching place to have this rapid response”.
“In terms of what we’ve been able to achieve with MuleSoft, we’ve used it to integrate our four laboratory information systems, which are our core systems of record in the background, with the greater health system,” Eckersley said.
“So that’s the eMRs [electronic medical records] or the eHRs [electronic health records], depending on if you’re in Australia or the United States, as well as the outpatients administration systems.”
“But then also tie those [systems] together with our federal systems, so things like the My Health Record and the national cancer screening registry.”
Eckersley, who heads up the agency’s DevOps group, said the architectural approach had allowed the agency, which is the largest public provider of pathology in Australia, to stand up a text bot to deliver COVID-19 test results to patients in as little as two weeks.
The automated citizen-facing service, which was developed in the first weeks of the pandemic in partnership with AWS, Deloitte, Microsoft, resulted in a drastic reduction in hours – or the equivalent of returning “5000 days of effort back to clinical frontline staff”.
He said the “world-class service” – which returns a test result in less than 24 hours, several days faster than in other parts of the world – was initially piloted with several clinics, before being “rapidly rolled out across the state”.
“All [patients need to do when they go to get a nasal swab taken] is scan a QR code and it immediately pops open a text message of ‘what are my results?’ to our text bot service,” Eckersley said.
“And then that text bot requests that [the patient] put in identifying information, as well as the date their collection was taken, and it will instantly give them the results as soon as they become available.”
The bot integrates with a range of different healthcare systems, including “three Cerner instances” and Auslab, as well as a “Jira service desk that we’ve been able to automate the ticket creation, which allows us to be able to automate the ticket creation”.
“[This] allows us to pick up any of these edge cases which don’t automatically match and push out, and that allows us to keep that ceiling on patient notifications right down to within that three day window,” he said.
“And we’ve also been able to rapidly expand out the different audiences … to repackage that information out to different consumers, so that’s enabled us to leverage our developments to feed out the information to public health and our Service NSW partners. 
“But also build our agent portal, which really provides a fantastic mechanism for our call centre agents to be able to have a great discussion with patients who haven’t been able to be contacted automatically and figure out what went wrong.”
However, Eckersley said that without the extensive work around building up a library of microservices over the prior four years, the agency would not have been in a position to “respond in as little as two weeks to get the initial service up and running.”
“The critical part of that is adapting [an] API-led pattern to the healthcare industry, and I think this is something that we’ve done relatively innovatively,” he said.
“[By] taking an HL7 message, using the MuleSoft HL7 adapters and then connecting it up with cloud infrastructure like Azure service bus for messaging, we’ve been able make a state-scaled solution really quickly which can pick up the millions of messages that we get running through the state in any given week and handle them in an API-led way.
“So we take that message in HL7, we convert it to XML, and then we push it through our process API layer.
“Then at that point, it is converted into a range of different FHIR [Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources].
“[We’re] able to, once in those FHIR resources, leverage things like Cosmos, which is a NoSQL database at hyperscale, to be able to store that information and present a set of an experience APIs to things like our web and mobile apps, as well as our partners.
“In our case we’ve integrated with Service NSW, and our text bot of course”.
Eckersley said the agency was now in the process of shifting all of its MuleSoft services to Kubernetes “piece-by-piece, rather than taking a big bang approach”, which will allow the agency to reduce risk and prioritise what applications it moves.
Chief information officer James Patterson, who also spoke at MuleSoft CONNECT digital, said reusing as many components as possible had allowed the agency to avoid creating “technical debt”.
“Even where we’ve had things like a billing project that’s using MuleSoft integration to bring data from our legacy systems into our more modern systems, we’ve been able to pick up components of that previous project and reuse them to build these new services,” he said.
“Where we’ve had legacy, we’ve had to build things from scratch in our modern integration environment, and obviously that takes longer and takes more effort.
“So we’re creating a situation where we’re removing technical debt as we go through the crisis, and I think that’s been really centred around our strategy with Mulesoft.
“Where we’ve had nice modular reusable services that we’ve built in our environment, we’ve been able to use them straight away, in hours or days versus weeks to build something from scratch.”
He also said that the upheaval had forced NSW Health Pathology to adopt agile practices, where before the pandemic hit, the agency was only using Agile ways of working only 10 percent of the time.
“I think the opportunity is now there to introduce that way of working into all of our work or most of our work, which will really enhance the experience of our customers internally,” Patterson said.

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NSW govt sets up vulnerability tracking centre in Bathurst – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The NSW government has set up a cyber security vulnerability management centre in Bathurst, which will start operating next month.
The centre will be operated by Cyber Security NSW, the new name given to what was formerly the Office of the Government Chief Information Security Office.
It will provide the NSW government with an increased awareness of vulnerabilities in internet-facing services and assets,” Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said in a statement.
“It will deliver a vital, sector-wide risk management capability and is critical to ensuring enhanced monitoring of at-risk government systems, as well as early identification and remediation of known vulnerabilities.
“Early detection of vulnerabilities and the ability to report them to the relevant agencies and departments is essential to improving our cyber security.”  
The government added that the centre “will provide ongoing and automated vulnerability scanning across departments and agencies, and as capability develops, other services will be introduced.”
The centre is the first of its kind in NSW and will employ eight Bathurst-based cyber security staff.
It will also see Cyber Security NSW work in partnership with UpGuard “to provide the NSW Government with greater capabilities to detect and manage internet-facing vulnerabilities and data breaches.”
The centre’s establishment comes as the NSW government prepares to invest $240 million into cyber security over the next three years.
It also comes as news reports emerge of the state government being a major target of a potentially state-based attack.

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Woolworths to build automated distribution centres in NSW – Strategy – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Woolworths will invest up to $780 million in new automated and semi-automated grocery distribution centres in NSW.
The investment covers a fully-automated regional distribution centre and a semi-automated national distribution centre at Sydney’s Moorebank Logistics Park.
It follows a difficult three months for Woolworths, in which it was forced to suspend delivery and click-and-collect services for a month in response to panic buying to free up delivery resources.
Woolworths will spend between $700 million and $780 million on the technology and fitout of the two distribution centres – which are yet to receive NSW government planning approval – over the next four years.
The company has also signed an initial lease term of 20 years with Qube Holdings, which itself will invest between $420 million and $460 million to build the actual warehouses.
The “state-of-the-art” facilities will use the same “semi-automated and automated technology deployed at Woolworth’ Melbourne South Regional Distribution Centre”, which has been operational for the last year.
The warehouses, which will both be operational by 2024, will replace Woolworth’s existing regional distribution centre at Minchinbury and national distributon centre at Yennora, as well as the Melbourne national distribution centre.
Woolworths chief supply chain officer Paul Graham said the investment would “transform the way we serve our NSW stores, strengthen our network and deliver on our ambition to create Australia’s best food and grocery supply chain”.
“Cutting-edge automation will build tailored pallets for specific aisles in individual stores – helping us improve on-shelf product availability with faster restocking, reducing congestion in stores, and enabling a safer work environment for our teams with less manual handling,” he said.
“The new facilities will also help progress our localised ranging efforts, with the ability to hold many thousands more products centrally than we can in our existing facilities.
“We’ve learnt a lot from our ground-breaking development at the Melbourne South Regional Distribution Centre (MSRDC).
“After hitting new volume milestones and dramatically improving the speed and accuracy of deliveries, MSRDC is now consistently supporting our Victorian stores – giving us confidence that now is the right time to invest in this new technology for our NSW network.”
A planning application seeking approval for the new facilities will be lodged “shortly” with the NSW Department of Planning, Woolworths said.
Woolworths said that for current staff at its existing distribution centres, it would offer “redeployment opportunities wherever possible with 650 roles available at the new Moorebank sites, as well as providing a wide range of support and career transition services to our team well before site closures” in 2025.

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NSW govt data centre goes down after power outage – Strategy – Storage – Networking- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A number of NSW Health and Service NSW systems are offline after the state government’s Silverwater data centre suffered a power failure overnight.
Reports of issues with NSW Health systems, including the state’s electronic medical record and other corporate applications, emerged this morning.
The health.nsw.gov.au website has also been down all morning. It currently returns the message “cannot connect to the configuration database”.
After enquiries to NSW Health’s digital arm, eHealth NSW, a spokesperson for the Department of Customer Service told iTnews the outage had been caused by a power issue.
“The NSW Government data centre at Silverwater experienced a power issue at 4am this morning,” the spokesperson said.
“This has impacted a number of government systems across the State this morning, in particular NSW Health and Service NSW.”
While technical staff are still investigating the cause of the outage, the spokesperson appeared to rule out a cyber attack.
“Technical staff have been working to urgently bring systems back on line and are investigating the cause,” the spokesperson said.
“It is not believed to be a cyber security incident.”
The spokesperson said while NSW Health had executed business continuity processes, “no patient data is affected by the outage and patient safety is unaffected while systems are rebooted”.
“Service NSW customers should expect some delays to a number of services,” the spokesperson said.
The outage comes days after a system outage at Transport for NSW that was reportedly due to a “malicious hack”.
Separately, The Sydney Morning Herald also reported that a series of cyber attacks against the NSW government and critical infrastructure providers prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrision’s cyber attack warning last week.
More to come.

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Hackers target NSW school online accounts in phishing campaign | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

New South Wales school online accounts were under attack from hackers on the same day the prime minister warned that businesses and government were being targeted by a state-based cyber actor.
Guardian Australia was informed on Friday that the Microsoft Sharepoint platform used by NSW schools was being exploited as part of a phishing campaign.
An email, seen by the Guardian, told users that a document had been shared with them through Microsoft OneNote, a collaborative note-taking app. Once they clicked on a link, it directed them to a login page on the NSW Schools Sharepoint, another collaborative platform.
The email, however, was a scam: a well-known phishing attempt that tries to collect user logins and passwords from people through exploiting the trust users have in Sharepoint.

It is a type of attack the Australian Cyber Security Centre warned in its Friday advisory following Scott Morrison’s announcement. It is not certain whether the attack was related to the campaign he outlined.
The link was removed after Guardian Australia approached the NSW Department of Education for comment.
A department spokeswoman said users were being educated in how to spot these kinds of phishing emails.
“When phishing is detected, the NSW Department of Education puts steps in place to control the impact and protect accounts and systems,” she said. “User awareness and education are ongoing activities at the Department of Education to reduce the likelihood of phishing being successful.”
The advisory released on Friday pointed to a number of known vulnerabilities in Sharepoint, Microsoft Internet Information Services and Citrix which can be exploited if government agencies and businesses have not patched their software.
Experts said the methods reported by the government on Friday were methods that could be prevented with appropriate cyber security measures in place but embarrassing for government agencies and businesses that fail to take cyber security seriously.
“[The state actor campaign] doesn’t look very sophisticated,” UNSW professor of cybersecurity Richard Buckland said. “It’s well-resourced in a large scale but I haven’t seen anything yet that’s super secret or super sinister. They’re using known techniques against known vulnerabilities and following known processes.”

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NSW govt pours $1.6 billion into digital – Strategy- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The NSW government will pour $1.6 billion into its digital-centric investment fund to accelerate IT projects and bolster cyber security over the next three years.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed the landmark funding on Thursday alongside Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello. 
The investment, which will be provided over three years, includes $1 billion in new funding and $600 million in savings redirected from agencies. 
It will flow into the state’s ‘digital restart fund’, which was established with an initial investment of $100 million in last year’s budget, to accelerate government-wide digital projects. 
The fund was introduced to help the government transition toward a contemporary IT funding model, which other jurisdictions, including the federal government, are now looking at copying. 
Berejiklian said the new funding would allow the government to “turbocharge digital projects” and improve NSW’s standing as one as the leading digital governments in Australia. 
“We are leading the country on digital transformation and this investment will cement our reputation as a world leader in technology and innovation,” she said. 
“We are already using technology to make life easier for customers. Whether it’s the Digital Driver Licence, Energy Switch or Park’nPay, our digital products provide added choice and convenience.” 
The funding will include $240 million – or $60 million a year – to improve the government’s cyber security capability, building on the last significant funding provided in 2018. 
It will go towards securing existing systems, deploying new technologies and increasing the government’s cyber workforce. 
Cyber security continues to be a thorn in the side for what is otherwise a leading digital state, with most agencies struggling to meet new requirements under the government’s cyber security policy. 
The funding will allow more government services to be brought online via Service NSW, as well as improve the “digital experience across agencies, including in education and health”. 
At $240 million over four years, Dominello said the new funding was the “biggest single cyber security investment in national history” – the federal government’s 2016 investment was $230 over four years. 
He said the funding will “strengthen the government’s capacity to detect and respond to the fast-moving cyber threat landscape” and make NSW the “cyber security capital of the Southern Hemisphere” 
“We are leading the nation on bricks and mortar infrastructure and this historic investment will positon us to develop a world leading cyber security industry and be a jobs hub for this critical multi-billion-dollar sector,” Dominello said. 
Perrottet said the “record investment in technology recognises that digital infrastructure is as important as transport infrastructure to the state’s economic growth”. 
“We must be fast followers in the digital revolution to accelerate agility, lift productivity and generate the jobs of tomorrow,” he said. 

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NSW Police’s $100m tech fund a ‘missed opportunity’ – Strategy – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

A $100 million cash splash to equip frontline police officers in NSW with new technology was “potentially a missed opportunity” and could have better addressed organisation-wide capability gaps, the state’s auditor-general has found.
An audit [pdf] of the ‘policing for tomorrow’ fund, released earlier this month, reveals that while NSW Police’s management of the initiative was “mostly effective”, some investment could have better targeted capability gaps.
The fund, which was announced by the state government in the lead up to the March 2015 election, allowed the force to equip the state’s more than 17,000 sworn officers with the latest technology.
It was used to purchase 4800 shared body-worn video (BWV) cameras and over 4600 shared MobiPol mobile devices, which account for $58 million of total cost of the fund, as well as mobile fingerprint scanners and mobile drug testing devices.
A number of other projects focused on improving frontline policing were also financed over the four-year life of the fund, though the force was given the discretion to pick and choose what projects were funded.
At around $25 million each year for four years, the fund represented just a fraction of NSW Police’s yearly IT budget.
The force currently spends around $200 million on IT operating costs and $74 million of its capital expenditure budget on IT projects each year.
Like the IT investment process taken by the force more generally, the audit said IT investment decisions were informed by “proposals developed and presented to it, rather than being driven by broader strategy”. 
“Commands identify their individual technology needs and submit requests to the ICT executive board for consideration and prioritisation,” the audit states.
“Soon after the ‘policing for tomorrow’ announcement, the NSW Police Force executive determined that a similar method would be used to determine funding for projects from ‘policing for tomorrow’ as for ICT projects generally.
“The NSW Police Force framed additional eligibility criteria for the funding directly from the election announcement, which emphasised technology for frontline officers rather than enabling technology.”
The audit said that broader strategic directions such as the 2014 enhanced mobile policing strategy were also taken into account by governance bodies. 
But the audit found a “strategic whole-of-organisation approach to identifying and filling technology capability gaps may have assisted in better targeting funds and managing expected benefits”.
“The NSW Police Force missed an opportunity to take a whole-of-organisation approach to selecting technology projects for the remainder of the funds where it had discretion,” it said, noting the
“This may have included considering less obvious back office technology or making different investment decisions driven by gaps in the agency’s technology capabilities.”
The audit said the force “operates with significant legacy ICT systems and faces challenges in investing in the next generation of ICT assets that meet its needs”.
“Various iterations of ICT strategic plans note this context and identify the importance of investing in enabling technology to support operational policing,” the report states.
“None of the funded ‘policing for tomorrow’ technologies originally planned to address this.”
The audit did, however, acknowledge that NSW Police was able to “take advantage of some enterprise-wide opportunities as they arose during the ‘policing for tomorrow’ funded projects” such as with the archival system needed to store BWV footage.
The force is now in the process of “developing and implementing a capabilities approach to ICT investment that will consider policing outcomes – and the people, processes, information and technology capabilities necessary and available across the organisation to achieve these”.
“This should strengthen the identification and acquisition of priority technology in the future,” the audit states.
The audit also notes that NSW Police was effectively forced to surrender $14.7 million in recurrent expenditure because it did not spend the funding in the allocated period.
The government “declined to extend additional permanent funding” in the 2019-20 financial year following a budget proposal from the force to use funding to support BWV and MobiPol.
The unspent recurrent funds are now expected to be “carried forward to the 2020-21 financial year pending a review of policing for tomorrow funds to date”
“The NSW Police Force is now meeting ongoing recurrent needs for MobiPol ($8.8 million) and BWV ($3.9 million) from existing resources,” the audit states.
“The NSW Police Force plans to seek ongoing funding in addition to leftover ‘policing for tomorrow’ funds to meet these costs in the future.”
The force was, however, successful in carrying forward $5.7 million in unspent capital expenditure from the fund to the 2019-20 year. 
Many other states have now surpassed NSW Police’s efforts on the mobility front, including Western Australia which rolled out an initial 4500 mobile devices in just two months last year and are now rolling out a further 2000.

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NSW cops shun portable biometric scanners due to legacy experience – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Frontline police officers in NSW are using smartphone-compatible fingerprint scanners only a fraction of the time due in part to their past experience with the technology.
The finding, contained in an audit [pdf] of the government’s $100 million ‘policing for tomorrow’ fund released earlier this month, raises questions about the $4.3 million investment.
NSW Police deployed 1000 portable NEC handheld fingerprint scanners in late 2018 to allow officers to process offenders in the field and, therefore, spend more time on the front line.
The ‘Field ID devices’ are used to identify persons of interest and enrol fingerprints on the national automated fingerprint identification system via the force’s 4700 MobiPol devices.
They replaced a former fleet of handheld fingerprint scanners provided by IDEMIA, which had “connection and other issues that made officers reluctant to take the devices out on patrol”.
Scans had languished at between two to four percent of all criminal infringement notices and field court attendance notices issued during 2018.
NSW Police has the power to take fingerprints on arrest and can also ask a person to consent to providing prints if a criminal infringement notice or court attendance notice has been served.
Offering significant benefits over the legacy tech, NSW Police had naturally expected the new Field ID devices to “lift the rate of fingerprint scans”.
But the audit reveals that NSW Police “does not appear to have been successful in promoting sustained use”, with devices only being used to check fingerprints on just over four percent of occasions, as of December 2019.
And while there was an initial uptick in scans, where the devices were being used on between five and six percent of occasions, this is now at “a rate comparable to that with the older device[s]”.
The auditor-general said there was a “lack of sustained increase in mobile fingerprint scanner usage”, likely due to “poor end-user and supervisor buy-in to the technology”.
It also said the experience of officers with the legacy devices had a direct impact on their willingness to use the new devices, a problem that had been identified in the business case.
“Officers we spoke to as part of this audit indicated that the poor performance of the previous technology had made them wary of the replacement device,” the audit states.
The report also points to a lack of ongoing training, with the force often relying on officers accessing guides on the NSW Police intranet to revise after an initial training session. 
“While the training emphasises the benefits of Field ID and encourages officers to use the device when they can we did not see any evidence that this message was regularly followed up,” the audit states.
“Efforts to enrol supervisors to champion Field ID usage were also not successful.”

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