AusCERT and GovCERT make lucrative peace

It looks like AusCERT and GovCERT have worked out their issues and are no longer stepping on each others' toes. Two years ago, the government launched its own Computer Emergency Response Team.

It looks like AusCERT and GovCERT have worked out their issues and are no longer stepping on each others' toes.

Two years ago, the government launched its own Computer Emergency Response Team. At the time, AusCERT's director Graham Ingram was worried that GovCERT would drain public money.

Ingram predicted that GovCERT would cost between AU$5 million and AU$10 million per year. It turns out he was pretty close to the mark.

In the federal budget last week, the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock allocated AU$12 million over the next four years to bolster GovCERT. The money is required, according to Ruddock, because the government needs to "remain one step ahead of emerging e-threats".

I expected AusCERT's Ingram to take serious offence at GovCERT's windfall -- mainly because I was under the impression that it is AusCERT's job to stay one step ahead of emerging threats and GovCERT's job to make sure we are prepared in case one of the threats becomes a reality.

But I was wrong.

In a telephone interview on Friday, he told me that there is now room for two CERTS in Australia.

"[GovCERT] are not really replicating what we do at all. We have worked out a lot of things over the last few years and we have some good arrangements in place right now.

"Part of the funding going into GovCERT will help some of the joint initiatives we have going with them. Their primary focus is government and that is not where we can operate, or would we wish to," said Ingram.

It seems that two years on, public money is no longer "being drained" by GovCERT -- because it is now being used to partly fund AusCERT projects!

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