Cybersecurity plan targets dark web crooks

The new cybersecurity plan gives investigators easier access to computers used by criminals.
The new cybersecurity plan gives investigators easier access to computers used by criminals.

Law enforcement agencies will be given boosted powers to tackle the dark web under a $1.7 billion federal government cybersecurity plan.

The change will allow the Australian Federal Police and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to identify individuals and their networks engaging in serious criminal internet activity.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the record $1.66 billion spend would help cybersecurity become a fundamental part of everyday life.

"We will protect our vital infrastructure and services from cyber attacks. We will support businesses to protect themselves so they can succeed in the digital economy," he said.

"We will track criminals in the darkest corners of the internet to protect our families and children."

The plan also involves bolstering the cybersecurity of small and medium sized businesses and universities and helping families become more cyber aware.

It will also give $66 million towards a study of vulnerabilities in Australia's major critical infrastructure and $67 million to improve collaboration between cybersecurity centres.

Currently the AFP and ACIC can only collect communications in relation to an investigation of a particular person or device, connected with a specific offence, under warrant.

But the dark web and encrypted communications apps make identifying suspects extremely difficult.

The new laws to be put to federal parliament would give the AFP and ACIC easier access to the computers used by criminals.

Australian Associated Press