Defending against an invisible enemy

Able Seaman Cryptologic Networks Jackson Cronin explains the results of a test to Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems Brittany Ely on board HMAS Toowoomba. Photo: Leading Seaman Richard Cordell

Defending against an invisible enemy

Defending HMAS Toowoomba while deployed for the first time on operations in the Middle East is an element of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Cyber Unit. 

The unit has deployed two personnel and specialised equipment to work across multiple systems and defend networks against cyber attack. 

The aim of Navy’s cyber operations is to fight and win in the information domain by effectively integrating cyberspace effects in support of the mission and at-sea deployments. 

Fleet Cyber Unit detachment lead Lieutenant David Hayes said the defensive operators were a roving guard force who searched the network for unusual trends and malicious activity.

“Fleet Cyber Unit will contribute by developing priorities to defend Navy’s mission-critical systems from adversary collection, manipulation and denial,” Lieutenant Hayes said. 

“In today’s operational environment, state and non-state actors regularly attempt to use cyber effects to achieve results that can have a greater impact on operations.”

The nature of cyber warfare also means adversaries deliberately target the most vulnerable systems. 

The Fleet Cyber Unit detachment is also conducting cyber security awareness briefings for the ship’s company of Toowoomba, her​​​​ sixth deployment to the region and her second as part of Operation Manitou.

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