Home Affairs boss Mike Pezzullo says Australia should take on cybercriminals like the British Navy fought the pirates of the Caribbean in the 17th century.
Mr Pezzullo used an address to a parliamentary inquiry into new cyber-crime laws to suggest Australia take on a more offensive role in combating the threat.
He suggested the counter-terrorism approach taken post-September 11 as one model, or even the British efforts to combat piracy worldwide hundreds of years ago.
"Another model that I would suggest … is the campaign that was mounted in the 17th, 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, to clear the world's oceans of pirates," he said.
"Including the pirates of the Caribbean, who were defeated by Her Majesty's warships of the Royal Navy, in concert with bringing law to a lawless ocean.
"This is a problem with which we can deal, just as Britain overcame piracy, but we need the tools to do so including the requisite legal authorities."