Collaboration, training important to Westpac’s security success

Establishes collaborative research centre to combat malware

Collaboration and training are vital to the success of security projects, according to Westpac’s Chief Information Security Officer, Richard Johnson.

Johnson spoke at the recent World Computing Congress in Brisbane where he outlined past successes of the bank, saying the development of close relationships with colleagues had been vital in the past.

“Effective industry and government liaison is important,” Johnson said. “As a group of white hats against a common foe of cyber criminals, it’s important that we work together.”

Johnson addressed a group of IT security professions and said the bank had a long standing history of working with staff from both the public and private sector.

“Liaising with government around policies like risk is important,” he said. “An initiative Westpac has set up is the collaborative research centre which is an internet commerce lab.”

“This is a global effort between IBM, the state government, the AFP and Westpac. It compares algorithms against malware and other malicious forms of harmful information,” Johnson explained.

As well as collaborating, Johnson said training staff from a number of departments about the importance of security was important in order to open up a dialogue of understanding.

“It’s sometimes a difficult conversation when you have to explain to the CIO why you’re preventing their new shiny web transaction system,” he said. “Demystifying security by making it transparent and working collaboratively is creating positive behaviour amongst the security community.”

The insights into Westpac’s security came as Cyber Storm III took place last week.

Westpac participated in Cyber Storm II during 2008, when the bank partnered with the Australian Federal Police, Defence Signals Directorate, ASIO and Centerlink.

This year’s “games” were again setting out to test computer security amongst the government and commercial sector.

One game participant was Telstra, whose executive director of network and information technology operation, Craig Hancock, said the event would help the telco test its incident response systems for gaps.

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Tags WestpacsecurityCISOsWestpac-Melbourne Instituterichard johnsoncyberwar

More about ASIOAustralian Federal PoliceetworkFederal PoliceIBM AustraliaIBM AustraliaTelstra CorporationWestpacWestpac

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