The challenge of cyberwarfare

Major General Marcus Thompson

Major General Marcus Thompson delivers his lecture.

More than 200 people attended a presentation on the future of cyberwarfare, organised by the Queensland Division of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in collaboration with the University of Queensland.

The public lecture, held at the university’s Customs House, was delivered by the Australian Defence Force’s Head of Information Warfare Major General Marcus Thompson AM, who made it clear that the new frontier of war had arrived and with it came big challenges.

“How we are structuring for future threats, and how we are preparing to defend ourselves in a world that has already changed more times than could have been predicted even five years ago, is our imminent challenge,” Major General Thompson said.

“If we want to protect ourselves against cyber conflict as a nation, we have to examine our online security practices as individuals.

“We lock our doors at home to protect our belongings, but leave our cyber door wide open to enemies we can’t see, and don’t necessarily understand.

“The desire to share and connect with families and friends online has to be balanced against the potential threat of sharing too much information which, once public, is easily accessible to individuals or groups who intend to do harm.”

Major General Thompson said people needed only to take simple precautions to keep their information safe.

“Switch your social media accounts to private, think carefully about sharing content that may reveal personal information about you, your family or your employer, and disable location services wherever possible.”

The event also featured an expert panel: the Queensland Government’s Chief Information Officer, Andrew Mills; Chief Executive of Powerlink Queensland, Merryn York; and UQ law and ethics researcher Associate Professor Rain Liivoja.

Director and Chair of UQ Cybersecurity Professor Ryan Ko said while the landscape continued to evolve, UQ was equipping graduates with the skills to navigate future cyber challenges.

Overhead view of the stage and audience
Members of the audience