CQU-led project boosted by auDA funding to protect small businesses from cyber threats

02 February 2022

A CQUniversity project to develop an automated and adaptive cyber security assessment device has been awarded a $40 000 grant as part of the auDA Foundation 2021 Grants Program.

The proposed device is set to improve the security practices of small businesses in Australia by allowing them to track their cyber security strength and notifying them of the actions required to continuously protect their online assets.

Project lead CQUniversity Senior Lecturer Dr Biplob Ray is collaborating with Deakin University Lecturer Dr Adnan Anwar and Acupak Pty Ltd. Director Mr Alan Harvey on the development of a prototype for non-technical users to identify and assess user-centric cyber security errors.

With the 12-month project officially commencing in January 2022' Dr Ray said the grant will provide the opportunity for extensive collaboration.

"This grant will allow us to collaborate with small businesses to develop a prototype' which will help build a cyber-resilient sustainable small business society'" Dr Ray explained.

"The prototype will be tested and validated in small businesses' but with minor modification' it can be adapted for larger businesses too."

Dr Anwar expressed his excitement for the project and said' "To our knowledge' there is a genuine need for an automated and adaptive cyber security assessment device for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) that can identify user-centric security errors on Internet-connected devices' such as common passwords."

Mr Harvey said that a small business owner would be relieved and empowered to know that the cyber security assessment device will identify unintentional user errors that may cause security breaches leading to financial loss and reputational damage.

On Tuesday' 1 February 2022' the auDA Foundation announced the recipients of their 2021 Grants Program' totalling $600 000.

Grants of $40 000 were awarded to 15 organisations for education and research initiatives that enhance the utility of the Internet for Australians across three key areas:

  • Digital inclusion (with an emphasis on First Nations peoples)
  • Cyber security for small business
  • Internet access for young Australians.

Foundation Chair' Mr James Atkins' commended all applicants for their commitment to improving the lives of Australians through the Internet and congratulated the successful grant recipients.

"The Foundation Board were overwhelmed by the quality of the 2021 grant applications from Australian not-for-profits and research institutions'" he said.

"Overall' there were 15 stand-out applications. We are thrilled to award grants to these projects' recognising that each will make a valuable impact in the lives of Australians and how they access and benefit from the Internet."

For more information about the auDA Foundation 2021 Grants Program' visit the auDA website.