On December 13, the Australian Lithuanian Cyber Research Network (ALCRN) launched the Australian Lithuanian Hybrid Threat Centre. The ACLRN is a joint initiative of RMIT University and Mykolas Romeris University and was established in February 2022, to promote collaborative research activities.
The purpose of ALCRN is to connect cybersecurity researchers, students and industry and government practitioners working on and/or interested in Australia and Lithuania. Another aim of the network is to allow research institutions, associations, companies, and clusters to join.
The network aims to promote increased awareness and understanding of the state of cybersecurity and associated issues within the network, as well as more broadly within Australian and Lithuanian society.
It also supports Australian and Lithuanian cyber activities by sharing knowledge, skills, expertise, experiences, plans, policies, procedures and practices.
The network conducts joint research as required on identified cybersecurity trends, risks, threats, impacts and controls, and future disruptions. The cyber research would relate to the organisational, human, technical and legal aspects of cybersecurity, including cyber threats and influence on a democratic society.
The network publishes and makes available any artefacts produced by it for reference. It also promotes cooperation and collaboration between Australia and Lithuania.
The Australian Lithuanian Hybrid Threat Centre will undertake joint research looking at hybrid threat impacts upon Australia and Lithuania; assess the society and organisational impact of hybrid threats; explore the impact of hybrid threats upon countries critical infrastructure including democratic institutions; develop a joint seminar series exploring the issues; write thought leadership items regarding the impact of hybrid threats.
At this time, the world has adapted to a rapidly changing cyber threat environment exacerbated by geopolitical factors. Lithuania, in particular, has been at the forefront of these issues due to its membership in NATO.
So what are hybrid threats, and what will this new centre do?
Hybrid threats are state and non-state actors that are challenging countries and institutions they see as a threat, opponent or competitor to their interests and goals with a focus on disputing industry and society through the targeting of physical, cyber, information and economic-based actions.
This is Australia's first Hybrid Threat Centre, further enhancing RMIT's leadership in cyber security research and building on its collaboration with Europe.
“Australian is facing new security threats and need a new way to understand and mitigate these threats, the Australian Lithuanian Hybrid Centre represent a new way of thinking about threats,” says Professor Matt Warren, Director of RMIT’s Centre for Cybersecurity Research and Innovation, and co-convenor of the Australian-Lithuanian Cyber Research Network.
The Centre also highlights the growing relationship between Australia and Lithuania.
“Lithuania has been facing hybrid cyber threats for several years, mainly from the Russian side. Over the past few years, Lithuania has acquired some experience and seeks to share this experience with other countries, as well as to further research preventive measures and countermeasures against hybrid threats,” says Professor Darius Štitilis of the Mykolas Romeris University, who is the co-convenor of the Australian-Lithuanian Cyber Research Network.