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Vigilance and smarts: how nbn stays cyber safe

3-minute read

Meet Karthick Siva, one of nbn’s cyber security experts helping to protect Australia’s digital backbone.

The nbn® network is the essential infrastructure that helps connect people to each other and provides access to the crucial tools and services that support everyday needs in a fast-changing digital world.

So that’s why we have a top team of cyber security experts who help keep the nbn network safe from threats.

“Like a real-world doctor looks for issues on a human body, our job is to look for security issues ,” says Karthick Siva, a senior member of nbn’s Cyber Defence Team.

“And my team’s role is like the person who runs the CT scan in the hospital environment – we can tell you what we find and what we can do about it.”

Our people monitor nbn’s network security around the clock so Australians can have more peace of mind that our network is secure.

Karthick is one of many employees dedicated to enabling the nbn network to have the integrity and security fit for Australia’s digital backbone.

His team tests and oversees the protocols that guard against cyberattacks, in turn helping to prevent disruption and keep data safe for nbn customers.

“Our goal is to help protect data and keep the access to the network safe through testing and validation of our technical cyber controls.”

A career of cyber challenges

A career at nbn will see you connect, learn and grow in a company that promotes internal mobility across nbn teams and business units, agile ways of working and collectively driving purpose-led enterprise-wide priorities.

An employee for more than seven years, Karthick also teaches two security units within the Master of Science (Network Systems) course at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology.

Starting as a Cyber Analyst working on projects involving IT forensics through to incident response and monitoring, today Karthick manages the Threat Simulation Team at nbn, which covers all aspects of penetration testing. It’s an impressive rise for the early-30s family man.

“I try to simplify the thinking when it comes to security threats.

“Let’s say a threat is trying to break into your house – they will first scope out how many windows and doors you have. Then, how would they get access? When you’re on holiday or between certain times? Can they breach the locks or just break the window?

“We test as much as we can to try to find flaws before the attackers do, and help protect the digital backbone of Australia.”

A changing world

Karthick’s introduction to computers was on a Pentium 4-powered PC and, like many others, his love affair with technology began with games. From there, his early career as a coder and software developer was born, as he started work in India’s law enforcement authorities.

“I wrote code back in 2008, but since then have moved my focus to cyber security and cyber security testing as every single country has become cyber security focused.

“When the internet first started, there were only very few users but now there are so many, it’s challenging to know exactly how many users there actually are. Especially with multiple devices in each home.

“So, now there is less trust from user to user, but you have to have trust in the network and our aspiration is to provide the best levels of cyber security that we can.”

Karthick’s introduction to computers was on a Pentium 4-powered PC and, like many others, his love affair with technology began with games.

A united team

Cyber security is both a broad and changing challenge and staying one step ahead of potential attack tactics is ongoing. Thankfully, Karthick and his colleagues ensure they work with like-minded professionals to identify and report security issues before a threat actor abuses it.

“There’s a security research community out there and it’s a group that basically works together to explore security issues and share information.

“We’re up to date with the technology, trends and techniques so it’s important to be part of this to help deliver fixes and solutions.

“It’s a similar thing within our industry – we meet up with our partners to share information about what we’re seeing.”

Our people are central to delivering the company’s purpose of helping lift Australia’s digital capability.

Karthick’s passion for his job is unmistakeable.

For an expert who would not be out of place in any major technology, dotcom or games organisation, he remains passionate about being part of a company that has made a huge difference to Australia.

“I wanted to contribute to a nationwide project, and my efforts and skills contribute to the security and integrity of the network – and I’m super happy with that.”

Stay cyber safe

  • Protect your information by using the best cyber security tools available to you
  • Practice healthy scepticism when online!
  • Use multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases, keep your security software up to date, and use a pinlock on your devices (six numbers or more)
  • Think before you share online
  • Act quickly if your data, bank or social media accounts are breached
  • Update your privacy settings

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