Drive to create NZ computer security response team

The first corporate sponsors are already on board to support a New Zealand Computer Security Incident Response Team or CSIRT.

The New Zealand Internet Task Force (NZITF) is seeking public funding to build a proof-of-concept Computer Security Incident Response Team, or CSIRT.

The initiative aims to help defend small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations from cyber-security threats.

NZITF chairman Barry Brailey said the task force wants to demonstrate the value of a CSIRT by making a positive, operational contribution to internet security.

"To prove the concept of a CSIRT that helps the private sector and charities, we want to partner with like-minded companies to fund, guide and shape the future of national incident response capabilities here in New Zealand," Brailey said.

The NZITF said it is working with government agencies to make sure that the data and typologies that CSIRTnz deals with can be fed into ongoing work to build a national Computer Emergency Response Team.

Major bank ASB is the effort's first platinum partner and auctions website Trade Me is its first silver partner.

"We believe it is a significant step forward in the development of New Zealand's cyber resilience. The proof of concept will be a valuable learning and information-gathering opportunity to help establish a permanent, national CSIRT capability in New Zealand," said ASB's executive general manager technology and innovation Russell Jones.

The move also garnered the support of InternetNZ, which said it has long been calling for such an effort.

"A CSIRT would mean Kiwi organisations and not-for-profits will have help from real independent experts if they are hacked by criminals or are dealing with some kind of cyber threat," said InternetNZ's chief executive Jordan Carter.

The CSIRT concept dates back to the outbreak of the Morris worm attack on global ICT infrastructure in the 1980s.

Shortly after that the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) established the first CSIRT: the CERT Coordination Centre at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA.

In 1992, Dutch Academic provider SURFnet launched the first CSIRT in Europe, named SURFnet-CERT. There are now more than 100 similar teams in Europe.