Australian gov’t to share intelligience with industries

Sandra Rossi

Computerworld Australia

Australia’s federal government will provide critical infrastructure industries such as banking, IT, utilities and telecommunications with tailored intelligence reports as part of its newly dubbed Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN) initiative.

TISN was launched at the Critical Infrastructure Protection Summit last month and is based on a similar model in the U.S. known as the private sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC), established post-September 11 as a counter-terrorism measure.

Working groups are being established for each industry, covering energy, banking, financial services, manufacturing, bulk food, health, communications, transport and utilities.

Australia’s National Information Infrastructure information and security law division senior adviser, Mike Rothery said there is no intention to increase the number of people that have security clearances, but participants are required to sign a ‘deed of undertaking’ to ensure information is used for company purposes only.

“If a threat is brought to our attention relating to a specific industry, information is shared with companies on a case-by-case basis. There have been a series of briefings held that have been at the classified level,” Rothery said.

Terms of references, in addition to discussion papers on the administrative framework outlining reporting and information procedures, are being sent to industry this week.

Information being sought by government from the private sector include details of attacks on information systems in order to allow the government to establish a baseline by compiling data.

However, participants have warned that IT vendors are stealthily worming their way into the initiative as third-party outsourcing providers.

This has created fears that outsourcing providers are then passing shared information on to the rest of their client base, although there is no evidence to date that this has occurred.