Oz kicks US's butt on net security: Gartner

Australia and New Zealand are "well ahead" of the United States in the roll-out of several key internet security initiatives thanks to better cooperation between internet service providers (ISPs) and the government, according to John Pescatore, a Gartner VP specialising in information security.

Australia and New Zealand are "well ahead" of the United States in the roll-out of several key internet security initiatives thanks to better cooperation between internet service providers (ISPs) and the government, according to John Pescatore, a Gartner VP specialising in information security.

Secure domain name services (DNSSec), the deployment of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and the internet industry's so-called "zombie code" for disconnecting infected computers were singled out as examples.

"In Australia the ISPs and the Federal Government already cooperate a lot more, have an ISP Code of Conduct, they're talking about filtering more," Pescatore told ZDNet Australia at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Australia and New Zealand's roll-out of DNSSec is "about a year ahead in kicking it off" compared with the US, where deployment is only just beginning.

"The whole Pacific area is ahead," he said. "The basic routing of the internet needs to be improved for security. Those are areas where we see Asia-Pac well ahead." Some Australian ISPs, notably Internode and iiNet, are already deploying IPv6.

Pescatore compared Australia's more cooperative industries such as electricity and telecommunications with those in the US, where government calls for improvements are usually met with objections on the basis of cost or interference.

"To be blunt, the form of capitalism in the US has not fostered cooperation between the government and private industry. It's been very much an adversarial relationship," he said. "This total separation of many areas of government and private industry, I think in many ways it puts the US behind in being pro-active."

Pescatore used healthcare identifiers as an example. "In any country where there is anything like socialised medicine, there's a form of digital identity, generally," he said. "And that's a way that we can tell online who's a good guy and who's a bad guy, because the citizens have digital identities, the bad guys don't. But in countries like the US, no such thing as digital identities. We call it a political third rail. You touch it, you get electrocuted."

Stilgherrian travelled to RSA in San Francisco as a guest of Microsoft.

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