Internal security top of mind for AusCERT

General manager says network, USB sticks ready for delegates

When a delegate list includes people from the US Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), AusCERT 2011 organisers know all too well that their security may be tested.

AusCERT general manager, Graham Ingram, told Computerworld Australia that while its conference network has to be open so delegates can plug in their own devices, there are extra secret measures in place.

"We have got things on the network but if delegates are aware of it, that defeats the purpose," he said.

"If you have security professionals and they're not using things like virtual private network (VPN), then there is a problem there."

Ingram also said it has asked security vendors who will be exhibiting not to test their products on the network while it's active.

Even the USB sticks provided in conference bags this year have come under scrutiny, as the company batch tests every one of the 1100 sticks to be issued. IBM was forced admit last year that complimentary USB sticks provided at last year's AusCERT conference were infected with malware.

"A lot of problems with USB sticks in the past have been that they were outsourced," he said. "The [security] vendors outsourced the production of the USB to a third party and that's where they got infected."

While AusCERT won't be taking questions via Twitter because of the monitoring required, organiser Claire Groves said it would be making the conference program available on a smartphone.

"This interface can be used on an iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop," she said. "After every speaker, we will be asking for feedback and the delegates will be able to rate the speakers using this interface on a wireless network. If they have a question for the presenter they will be able to address this way."

And Ingram said smartphone security will be top of mind during the conference.

"Smartphones now are like little computers so we would remind delegates to secure their phones too."

The conference program is yet to be launched but a list of speakers is available on the conference's website.

IDG Communications is an official media partner for AusCERT 2011

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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