The dust has settled on the federal election, and advocates from all sectors are either crowing over their wins or licking their wounds. On the battleground for the internet, there is a much darker spectre looming. Over the coming year, Australia will rapidly be relegated to the backwaters of the global digital world. We will no longer have a functioning industry of security software manufacturers, nor will we have faith in the safety and security of our telecommunications systems.

The security of every digital device in homes all over the world will likely be compromised, for criminals, scammers and bored teenage hackers to play with at their whim. Situations where unknown persons miles away are able to manipulate smart home thermostats, listen in on baby monitors or remotely start cars in driveways will become more prevalent. We will see a growing distrust within the public when it comes to app updates and security patches, resulting in even more vulnerabilities and security breaches.

We may even witness an increase in foreign powers executing cyber attacks against our police forces and military, as our own government moves to compromise the very architecture of the digital world. This is the future of criminality and statecraft—a likely expansion of efforts to exploit our digital vulnerabilities.

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