AusCERT was dumped from the Australian Government's Stay Smart Online Service based on "inaccurate and misleading" information, according to the agency's chief.
AusCERT chief Graham Ingram was responding to documents circulated within the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) that defended the decision by suggesting that AusCERT had not responded to demands to make the SSO service innovative.
The extent of the rift was revealed in freedom of information documents obtained by SC.
The SSO service was run by AusCERT for four years before the contract expired in April 2012. Enex TestLab now runs the alerts.
Ingram said he was concerned the documents contained "inaccurate and misleading statements about AusCERT and the nature and quality of the service provided under this contract.
"Over the four years, AusCERT supported DBCDE in making the SSO Alert Service, as well as the broader Stay Smart Online initiative, a success and helped DBCDE deliver a useful public service," Ingram said.
"This included providing assistance that was not part of the contract requirements; and included hosting National Cyber Security Awareness Week events, providing advice about functional changes to the web site, and suggesting how the SSO Alert Service could be improved and be more useful to home users and SMEs directly affected by cyber attacks."
The documents were circulated within the DBCDE by its Cyber Security and Asia-Pacific Engagement Branch.
The department wanted plain english content on how to avoid "viruses, phishing scams, online hoaxes, identity theft, [and] new security measures", among other initiatives.
"The alert may need language simplification, modification for Twitter or Facebook or include background. AusCERT has not demonstrated an ability to deliver such a service."
But cached SSO Alerts showed AusCERT had in fact covered phishing scams and viruses as far back as 2009 and as recently as this year.
Ingram said AusCERT will speak to the DBCDE to try to resolve the issue.