Australia to form rapid cyber assist teams for Pacific Islands


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia said on Wednesday it would spend A$26.2 million ($17 million) to establish “rapid assistance” teams to respond to cyber crises in the Pacific region, and another A$16.7 million to identify cyber vulnerabilities in the Pacific Islands.

The cyber security boost comes after Australia and the United States committed last month to funding two new undersea cables to be rolled out by Google in the Pacific Islands to increase connectivity for eight remote island countries.

Minister for the Pacific Pat Conroy said the rapid response teams would “build long-term resilience in the Pacific” and provide critical support.

Last year, Vanuatu’s government, hospitals and court were locked out of computer systems and email for weeks by a hacker, days after a new government was elected, and Australia sent security experts to assist.

Fiji’s government said on Tuesday that a new undersea cable to be rolled out by Google, connecting the United States and Australia via Fiji, would bring FJD $200 million ($89 million) in investment to Fiji and see the first Tier 3 datacentre built in the Pacific Islands.

A second undersea cable would connect the United States to Australia via French Polynesia.

($1 = 1.5366 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Stephen Coates)



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