World

Australia moves to protect universities from foreign interference

28 August 2019 - 62   - 0

Australian universities will be required to work with security agencies to ensure they guard against undue foreign interference, Minister for Education Dan Tehan said on Wednesday.

Foreign students are worth about A$35 billion ($23.64 billion) a year to the Australian economy, with Chinese students accounting for about a third of that figure.

But after a spate of cyber-attacks and fears that China could influence research and students, Tehan said a task-force of university representatives and security agencies would be set up.

“Universities are an attractive target given their research across a range of fields and the intellectual property this research generates,” Tehan said in a speech in Canberra.

The task-force would ensure universities had sufficient cyber defenses, he said.

In June, the Australian National University said hackers had in 2018 breached its cyber defenses to obtain sensitive data, including students’ bank account numbers and passport details, going back 19 years.

Australia has not identified the culprits behind that attack.

The task-force would also ensure academic research and students are free from any undue influence, Tehan said.

(REUTERS)

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