Government cybersecurity consolidation a step in the right direction: INTERPOL

Growing international cooperation between federally supported cybersecurity organisations is finally taking the global information-security response in the right direction, according to a key player in INTERPOL's international cybersecurity efforts.

Steve Honiss, project manager of the Cyber Innovation & Outreach Directorate within INTERPOL's Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore, lauded recent efforts to consolidate Australia's previously-disparate cybersecurity efforts under the banner of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

“There's no sense operating in silos,” Honiss said. “It just doesn't work. Having all the federal agencies in the one place dealing with each other makes sense – so it's very encouraging to see that happening here.”

The move – which was the culmination of years of evolution in government cybersecurity policy – reflected a growing global trend towards co-operation that also saw the recent establishment of the IGCI in Singapore: “we have two cyber directorates that didn't previously exist,” Honiss said.

“INTERPOL's member countries are investing heavily in this and we've seen a steep rise in the amount of activity and focus that we are putting on it. That's purely at the request of member countries, which identified in 2010 that they need a single, central, global focal point to help co-ordinate these activities.”

IGCI staff were actively working with peers at the ACSC, New Zealand's National Cybercrime Centre (NC3), Japan's JPCERT and similar organisations in other countries to provide a more united front against a growing cybersecurity threat.

Such cooperation had become even more important as nation-state attacks became an increasingly serious threat. North Korea, for one, recently after hearing that it was targeted by a Stuxnet-like attack.

Although he declined to comment on online conflicts between nation-states, Honiss noted that the involvement of governments in investigation of online crime had marked a significant step in the evolution of the global cybersecurity response and the development of an open culture of threat-intelligence sharing.

“Governments are really recognising the need to step up their efforts, and to make their reporting available to the public,” he said, noting that cybercrime investigation skills had become a critical part of the toolset for all police investigators.

“The publicity around state sponsored activity has heightened public awareness and concerns in the industry, particularly in those industries that have valuable IP. The positive aspect of this is that it makes people look a lot closer are their security practices and policies, and how to best protect their valuable data against any form of attack wherever it's coming from.”

The ACSC kicked off operations last December and has been busy soliciting reports about cybersecurity events to build out its operational intelligence capabilities and a public-awareness campaign that saw the ACSC launch a tongue-in-cheek cybersecurity campaign fronted by comedian Merrick Watts.

Backed by a six-month review of Australia's cybersecurity defences announced by prime minister Tony Abbott last November, the capabilities of the ACSC have become critical in helping other countries mount an effective regional response.

While some in the security community argue that such efforts are long overdue, the government-led maturity of Australia's cybersecurity community had

Read more: Active Online Security Measures for Business

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Tags cybersecurityinterpolSteve HonissIGCICyber Innovation & Outreach DirectorateJPCERTgovernmentAustralian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)CSO Australiaconsolidation

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