Cyber threats outpacing government action

Federal government efforts to boost Australia’s cyber security capabilities are being outpaced by the growing scale of threats, experts warn.

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A report, released on Wednesday, found just four of 83 goals set in a cyber security strategy launched by Malcolm Turnbull a year ago have been achieved.

While another 20 were “on track”, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said 22 others needed greater attention to meet the four-year timeframe.

No work has begun on 14 other outcomes.

Authors Zoe Hawkins and Liam Nevill said the constant stream of cyber events highlights how serious a challenge cyber security had become.

“Unfortunately, while the government is working hard, the pace and scale of the issue is outgrowing the government’s current efforts,” they said in a statement.

Also concerning was the lack of transparency about the government’s plans for specific tasks and activities committed to in the document.

The report claims partners in the private sector have been kept in the dark and not given clear timelines, despite being expected to take leadership on some initiatives.

It comes on the same day the prime minister will hold talks with executives from major companies in Canberra about their role in fighting cyber crime.

“We want them to look at developing products and innovation that would enable them to offer cyber security services to their customers,” Dan Tehan, the minister in charge of cyber security, told News Corp.

The review found activities needed to measure if the strategy has had a positive impact on cyber security, such as data collection, also haven’t started.

“Knowing if the work that’s taking place is making meaningful change is critical to understanding the next steps for cyber security in Australia,” the authors said.

While nearly $500 million of new money has been made available to cyber-related initiatives, funding remained a challenge.

Key agencies are being asked to do more without the required resources, including the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which is responsible for the strategy but has received no extra funding to deliver the policy.

Regardless, the report by ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre said “significant encouraging progress” had been made over the past 12 months.

The appointment of Mr Tehan and Alastair MacGibbon as the prime minister’s special advisor on cyber security has helped put cyber issues in the spotlight and improve transparency.

Trump’s communications director resigns as staff shake-up looms

Dubke, 47, occupied the high-powered but low-profile, post for three crisis-filled months.

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“I can confirm that Dubke has resigned,” an official told AFP.

No date for his departure, which has been in the works for almost two weeks, has been announced.

For months rumors have echoed around the West Wing about Trump being poised to fire his public relations staff en masse.

Many come from the Republican Party establishment and have been uneasy allies with the president.

Watch: Trump administration is preparing for a deeper investigation into its links with Russia 0:00 Share

Trump has privately and publicly expressed fury over a litany of bad headlines, lashing out at reporters, alleged “fake news” headlines and staff.

The president’s failure to pass significant legislation, legal challenges to his executive orders and a rolling scandal over his inner circle’s ties with Russia have hobbled his young administration.

That has put the future of press secretary Sean Spicer and his staff into doubt.

Although the White House communications director is a much less recognizable figure than Spicer, they are usually major players — defining how the West Wing communicates and shaping the media agenda.

During Barack Obama’s administration top aide and confidant Dan Pfeiffer held the post.

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May plays down election loss poll

Theresa May has played down polling that puts her on course to lose the General Election.

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The Prime Minister insists the only poll that matters is the June 8 vote after the seat projection study suggested the UK faces a hung parliament.

The constituency-by-constituency estimate for The Times by YouGov indicates the Conservative Party could lose 20 seats and see its majority wiped out, while Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour may gain 28 seats.

The analysis is based on a complex model and suggests Mrs May’s gamble of calling a snap election in the hope of a landslide win could backfire spectacularly.

During a visit to Plymouth Fisheries, where she met local fishermen, Mrs May said: “The only poll that matters is the one that’s going to take place on June 8 and then people will have a choice as to who they want to see as leader, who they want to see as prime minister taking this country forward in the future, me or Jeremy Corbyn.

“I have the plan for the Brexit negotiations but I’ve also got a plan to build a stronger and more prosperous Britain and I’m confident we can do that because I believe in Britain and I believe in the British people.”

YouGov chief executive Stephan Shakespeare said the data could change dramatically between now and June 8.

“The data suggests that there is churn on all fronts, with the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all likely to both lose and gain seats,” he wrote in The Times.

“Based on the model’s current estimates, some seats are likely to change hands along EU referendum dividing lines.

“This is just a snapshot based on data from the past seven days and people can and do change their minds in the closing days of a general election campaign.”

Warburton unfazed by Lions rugby schedule

British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton believes their gruelling match schedule on Kiwi soil has its perks and might even work in their favour.

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Warburton, his 40 Lions teammates and the side’s coaching and support staff touched down in New Zealand on Wednesday ahead of their first match on Saturday against the Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei.

The matches come thick and fast for the Test selection, who will play at least one game every four days until their second All Blacks Test on July 1.

They’ll play 10 matches in total across the six-week tour, culminating in the last of their three Tests on July 8 against the world champions.

Yet the 28-year-old Warburton, on his second tour as Lions skipper, felt the short turnarounds would help his side focus mentally.

The Welsh flanker was itching to get out on the field.

“What’s nice is that you don’t have a whole lot of time to think about the games coming up, like you would in a normal international week,” Warburton told reporters.

“You actually enjoy these games a bit more, because they come so quick.

“It’ll feel like there’s all guns blazing.”

The Lions are expected to take on the Baabaas with a squad made up mostly of players who took part in a Cardiff training camp two weeks ago – including the likes of Warburton, Stuart Hogg, Greig Laidlaw and Rory Best.

Like head coach Warren Gatland before him, Warburton admitted the side’s result against the mostly semi-professional Barbarians side was secondary to performance and gelling as a squad.

But he’d still like the side to pick up a win, and set the tone for a campaign that will gradually increase in difficulty and physical intensity.

Shaking off the long-distance travel would also be important.

“You do get a good feeling in the camp when you win games but, realistically, these next three weeks are going to be big learning weeks – getting combinations together, getting our processes right at lineout, scrum time,” Warburton said.

“Ideally, we’d love to win all of those games but, as long as we get better and better after each fixture, then that’s good.

“If we won every game 3-0, I’d bite your arm off.”