2022 has exposed Australians to the extent that criminals will go to steal their most personal and identity data – and the value of everything they take. Cybersecurity needs to get a lot more proactive, according to Senetas CEO Andrew Wilson

There’s a phrase used across many commercial enterprises: “data is our most valuable asset”.

For the first time, millions of everyday Australians have felt the impact of what happens when criminals target this valuable trove for their own gain.

Government, intelligence agencies and business leaders have been quick to point fingers, after decades of poor cybersecurity policy and a somewhat laissez-faire approach to implementing cybersecurity advice to boards and executives have left citizens and our economy vulnerable.

The uncomfortable truth is that modern, borderless IT infrastructures are rife with vulnerabilities.

This makes stored data, data in use and the networks that enable the business activities we rely upon highly vulnerable to virtually inevitable data breaches.

So, if building a secure perimeter doesn’t work, what does? There must be a ‘last line of defence’ to ensure the stolen sensitive data is useless in unauthorised hands – encryption.

This is what Senetas has been building answers to for 20+ years.

In the event of a breach, the only way to protect data is with strong encryption. This is great news for vendors like Senetas, because the use of the strongest encryption technology is set to increase over time.

Advanced ‘fit for purpose’ technology

There are a plethora of defence technologies that are clearly no longer fit for purpose. Take anti-malware solutions as an example. Most are malware ‘signature dependent’, but today’s most malicious attacks are signatureless!

The cyber-criminals releasing these are more sophisticated and better resourced than ever. We need technology that moves with the times.

Senetas’s investment in Votiro Cloud and its patented content disarm and reconstruction (CDR) technology is an example of an advanced and fit for purpose approach to cybersecurity.

It works by examining all files that transfer in and out of an organisation’s perimeter and within the organisation, deconstructing them down to their base parts, identifying and destroying threats and then reconstructing them and sending them on – all in an instant.

For it to work, it needs to know what cloud data is safe, and what is potentially malicious. No easy task.

However, this isn’t “future-technology” – it’s commercially available today. Votiro’s technology is award winning and recently won the first season of capture the CISO, a podcast (and competition) that brings together several Chief Information Security Officers and invites products to be scrutinised by knowledgeable industry peers.

Already a formidable barrier to ransomware, it will only grow even more sophisticated and capable over time through continuing R&D.

Senetas is the majority shareholder in Votiro and offers Votiro Cloud integration as an adjunct to Senetas’s secure file-sharing, storage and collaboration application, SureDrop.

The Quantum Threat

Beyond 2023, cybersecurity experts say that the most dangerous cyber-threat in history is the rise of the ‘Quantum computer’.

Best estimates put mankind on course to unleash a commercially viable Quantum computer by 2030. Nation-states and criminal syndicates are likely to have access sooner.

It’s simpler to think of Quantum computers as a ‘skeleton key’. Traditional encryption in this metaphor is the ‘lock’. Today’s conventional mathematics-based encryption currently used by corporations and governments, would take even the most creative cyber-criminals a century or more to crack using current computing power.

With a Quantum computer (based on Quantum mechanics/physics), this encryption would hold attackers at bay for hours or days at best. The solution requires a Quantum-resistant algorithm standard.

The ramifications of a stable and viable quantum computer are huge. The party that wins the race will hold a competitive advantage over all others.

In January this year the US president gave all government departments 180 days to identify vulnerable areas and come up with a plan to transition to compliance using NSA-approved quantum resistant protocols.

The European standards organisation ANSSI has also recommended the use of hybrid encryption now to help ensure today’s sensitive data is protected in a post-Quantum world.

Senetas is one of a small number of companies in Australia that can call the US government a major customer, and has been preparing for the arrival of Quantum computing. Senetas currently provides the shortlisted library of candidate Quantum-resistant algorithms currently under evaluation for selection of one as the future standard.


In 2022, many cybersecurity chickens came home to roost. A decade of poor cybersecurity performance will not be fixed overnight, so it predicts a tumultuous year ahead too.

A ‘perfect storm’ of Covid-19, chip shortages and complex supply chain issues have interrupted greatly IT infrastructure development, growth and modernisation.

These combined with geo-political conflict and some degree of ‘cybersecurity apathy’ have caused major challenges.

Since its founding in 1997, Senetas has seen many technological breakthroughs and disruptions to the status-quo.

By keeping an eye on the horizon, being present in the Americas, AMEA and APAC regions, having significant global cybersecurity partnerships (government, commercial and distribution) and investing R&D resources in the future of cybersecurity, Senetas aims to be prepared for whatever opportunities and challenges are to come.

This story was developed in collaboration with Senetas, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This story does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.