Tech expert tops ASIO
Australia’s new spy boss takes the position after decades in tech security.
Mike Burgess will lead the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) as director-general after 24 years at the forefront of IT security, most recently the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).
While the ASD monitors cyber crime overseas, Mr Burgess’ new role sees him take on ASIO’s role of tracking threats at home.
Mr Burgess has reflected back on the start of his spying career with the old Defence Signals Directorate in 1995.
“I spotted a weird, geeky-sounding advert in the newspaper, back in the days when we had newspapers,” he told reporters.
“It was short on details on who was recruiting but being a curious guy I thought I'd give it a go.
“When I rang the number listed, all I got was a ‘hello’. I responded with my ‘hello’, and after a short pause, all I got was a ‘hello’ back.
“That was my introduction to the world of intelligence and security.”
Mr Burgess worked his way up, spending five years as deputy director for cyber and information security at DSD, before becoming Telstra’s chief information security officer in 2013.
He left Telstra in November 2016 and was appointed head of the rebranded Australian Signals Directorate soon after.
He oversaw the ASD’s efforts to open up about its role to the public.
“Long time listener, first time caller”, the ASD Twitter account said in October 2018, part of the new push to engage with Australians.
“It is important the Australian public understand why changes are necessary. That would be difficult to do if ASD were to continue to be highly secretive about the nature of its role,” Mr Burgess said in a speech on the same day.
Mr Burgess was also on the federal government's naval shipbuilding advisory board.
He officially takes over as ASIO director-general on September 15.