Australian net security agency teams up with CERT

U.S. and Australian Internet security agencies have signed a joint agreement to protect national and global information infrastructures.

The U.S.-based Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center and the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) “will partner to accelerate the development of methods, tools and techniques to protect the interconnected networks that comprise the national and global information infrastructures”, the organizations said in a joint statement.

The agreement expands a long-standing informal working relationship between the two groups, which has included joint security advisories and cooperation on special projects such as one on the year 2000 problem (Y2K).

“It is an important step because the Internet does not recognize national borders, and attacks may be directed at groups of countries or directed primarily at one country through others,” CERT Coordination Center manager Jeff Carpenter says.

AusCERT general manager Rob McMillan says the partnership will begin with a two-year pilot project to evaluate the benefits of information sharing.

Speaking at a conference in Melbourne this week, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Chris Ellison, said protecting the security of Australia’s new essential services – telecommunication, utilities, banking and financial services – in the public and private sector is one of the key challenges for law enforcement and government in the information age.

He said the technological revolution has changed forever the way in which the public and private sectors go about their work. “Today’s economies are now driven by information and technology, and virtually every aspect of our society and our economy depends on the use and application of electronic data,” Ellison said.

“While there is no doubt that this information age can deliver enormous benefits to consumers, business and governments, the threat and incidence of cyber-terrorism had also grown tremendously.”