RAN’s Fleet Cyber Unit deploys in support of Op MANITOU

Defending HMAS Toowoomba and deployed for the first time on operations in the Middle East is an element of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Cyber Unit.

RAN’s Fleet Cyber Unit deploys in support of Op MANITOU

The Fleet Cyber Unit deployed two personnel and specialised equipment to work across multiple systems and defend networks against cyber attack.

Fleet Cyber Unit detachment lead, Lieutenant David Hayes, described the defensive operators as a roving guard force that searches the network for unusual trends and malicious activity.

Lieutenant Hayes said:

“The team’s goal is also to normalise Cryptologic-Network category integration into the full spectrum of cyberspace operations within maritime campaigns."

Cyberspace is the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs.

The aim of Navy’s cyber operations is to fight and win in the information domain by effectively integrating cyberspace effects in support of the mission and at-sea deployments.

Lieutenant Hayes said:

“FCU will contribute by developing priorities to defend Navy’s mission-critical systems from adversary collection, manipulation and denial. In today’s operational environment, state and non-state actors regularly attempt to use cyber effects to achieve results that can have a greater impact on Royal Australian Navy operations than traditional kinetic means, often with an added layer of deniability.”

The nature of cyber warfare also means adversaries deliberately target the most vulnerable systems.

The FCU detachment is also conducting cybersecurity awareness briefings to Toowoomba’s ship's company.

Able Seaman Cryptologic Networks Jackson Cronin said the emphasis was on the Navy Information Warfare Branch-developed ‘Navy Nine’ cyber awareness criteria. Able Seaman Cronin said:

“The ship’s company have been receptive to our support as they understand the significance of cyber threats in the Middle East.”

This is the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy unit in the Middle East since 1990, Toowoomba’s sixth deployment to the region, and her second as part of Operation MANITOU.

Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government's contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region (MER). An enhanced security environment ensures Australia's safe and open access to the region while fostering trade and commerce.