ASD cyber chief praises Telstra for breach disclosure

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ASD cyber chief praises Telstra for breach disclosure
Major General Stephen Day addressing the 2015 Cyber Security Sympoisum

Major General Stephen Day insists security is getting better.

The Australian Signals Directorate's cyber security chief has heaped praise on the nation’s biggest telco for its upfront approach to disclosing a network breach at its Pacnet subsidiary.

Speaking today at the Cyber Security Symposium today in Sydney, Major General Stephen Day said Telstra had demonstrated leadership in its proactive public response to the breach.

Two weeks ago Telstra revealed Pacnet’s corporate network had been infiltrated by hackers late last year, prior to the telco's $857 million acquisition of the company.

It said the perpetrators had gained full access to the network, but there was no evidence any data had been taken.

Telstra announced the breach in a press briefing one month after Pacnet shared the details of the incident with its new parent company.

“I struggle to think of too many companies that have come forward like [Telstra] did recently,” Day said.

The spy chief is looking to cement his cooperative relationship with the nation's telco providers.

He said the ASD and its partners had formally invited seven telcos and ISPs to take up posts in the newly co-located Australia Cyber Security Centre in Canberra. iTnews is seeking detail on the businesses involved.

Day forecast that the ACSC would have branches in all Australian capital cities in the longer term so it can engage with local industry face-to-face.

He also complimented the banking sector for what he called plans to “get together and share notes”.

“If we are to collectively get ahead we have to swap experiences and what we have learned,” he told the audience.

Day used his keynote to unveil data that pointed to what he claimed was a huge turnaround in cyber security threats for Australian government. The data suggested identified compromises dropped to negligible levels in 2013 and 2014 after a “dramatic" couple of years.

He said 2015 was shaping up to be a good year for cyber security, but admitted “it is entirely possible that tomorrow or next week we could find out that 2013 was actually a disastrous year, and I’m going to have to change those bar charts”.


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