Government to overhaul e-security framework

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Government to overhaul e-security framework

Australia’s e-security framework is set to receive a major policy overhaul, the Attorney General Robert McClelland has announced.

Australia’s e-security framework is set to receive a major policy overhaul with Attorney General Robert McClelland announcing his intentions to review the country’s digital security policy, programs and capabilities.

The purpose of the ‘whole-of-government review of e-security’ is to develop a new Australian Government E-Security Framework in order to create a secure and trusted electronic operating environment for both public and private sectors.

The move comes off the back of the country’s increasing reliance on information and communications technology and the threat of a hostile online environment.

The Attorney-General's Department will lead the review in partnership with Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy and assisted by other agencies including ASIO, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the AFP.

Attorney General Robert McClelland said: “New and networked systems increasingly underpin our business and social interactions, but they also provide fertile ground for exploitation by cyber criminals.”

“The e-security review is an opportunity to look at what help the Government can provide to develop a more secure and trusted electronic operating environment," said McClelland.

The review will take into account the threat of electronic intrusions into Australian networks and the threat from complementary attacks on physical, or personnel assaults.

Furthermore, the review will examine current programs that contribute to e-security, including those implemented under the Howard Government such as the AU$73.6 million E-security National Agenda funding package.

Senator Conroy said the review of e-security was a vital step towards fostering confidence in using the internet for personal and business activities.

“A secure online environment trusted by the community coupled with the Government’s rollout of the National Broadband Network is critical to our nation’s continued social and economic prosperity,” Conroy said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), which is the professional body for the ICT sector, welcomed the Government review.

ACS Chairman Kumar Parakala said: “Current e-security measures do not adequately protect Australians as our critical infrastructure, business & financial resources are increasingly migrated to the Internet.

“We believe it’s essential that in the review, the Government considers methods such as behaviour blocking, virus throttling, protocol anomaly protection and generic exploit blocking to protect governments, businesses and the community.

“The regulation of e-security consultants is also an issue that needs to be considered within the review. In an age where cyber-terrorism is an ever-present risk, the security of public and private digital infrastructure is more often the result of good luck rather than good management,” said Parakala.

Key areas the ACS believes will present the major security threats to Australia in coming years include:

• Removable media & storage devices
• VoIP
• Public wireless hotspots
• Instant messaging services
• On line gaming devices
• Commercialisation of vulnerability research

“The ACS will be making a submission to the Federal Government, which will include our recent calls for adopting an auditing system for random employee email checks, as well as alert and logbook systems,” he said.

The review is to be completed for Government consideration by October 2008. Submissions to the E-Security Review close on 31 July 2008.

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