Cyber attacks are expected to double in Australia in the coming years as the nation deals with the fallout of a series of major hacks.
The country will also experience a shortage of 3000 highly skilled cyber security workers by 2026.
It's expected the number of attacks in Australia will double within the next five years.
The grim findings have been revealed in a national cyber security plan released this week.
Cyber Security Minister Clare O'Neil said a new 100-strong, standing cybercrime operation targeting hackers led by the AFP and Australian Signals Directorate would send a strong message to cyber criminals considering launching an attack.
"There is a cost to coming after us here in Australia so this is part of our country punching back," she told a Cyber Week event in Melbourne on Monday.
"If you come and try to hurt our citizens, then we are going to come after you."
Ms O'Neil said Australia's cyber security strategy lacked ambition, and she believed the nation could become the safest country in the world through big changes.
Australian agencies and companies are managing the backlash from the two massive Optus and Medibank data breaches.
Opposition spokesman Dan Tehan said there may be rare cases where a payment to hackers should be made in exceptional circumstances.
Ms O'Neil has flagged a proposed ban on companies paying ransom demands to cyber criminals should they be hacked.
The nation's largest health insurer could face legal action after the personal details of millions of its customers, including information about alcohol issues and abortion procedures, were posted on the dark web.
Law firm Maurice Blackburn confirmed it was reviewing whether customers affected by the hack could be entitled to compensation.
The AFP confirmed Russian cyber criminals were behind the Medibank attack.