Global group to provide cyberattack early warnings

The International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Terrorism, or Impact, will provide an 'early-warning system' for governments facing cyberattack, says its founders

Twenty-six countries have united to form a global cyber-security group: the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Terrorism (Impact).

Announcing its launch at the World Cyber Security Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Impact said that while the internet brings business and societal benefits, international efforts, including a cyberattack "early-warning system", were needed to stop people posing a threat to governments by compromising information systems.

"Those who choose to abuse the privilege of entering into cyberspace and use it in a negative and destructive manner should be stopped," stated the ministers attending the meeting. "Means to deal with these negative and destructive acts should be developed to protect, promote and preserve a safe and secure cyberspace."

As part of this effort, leading security figures from industry and academia will establish an '"early-warning system" similar to the US "Manhattan Project", announced by US Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff in April. Impact's Centre for Global Response will "facilitate swift identification and sharing of available resources to assist member-governments during emergencies," according to the Impact website. The system will proactively monitor internet threats, and provide global points of contact for governments during an emergency.

Impact will also contribute to cybercrime policy formulation and international harmonisation through its Centre for Policy and International Co-operation, train member governments through its Centre for Training and Skills Development, and formulate security best practice through its Centre for Security Assurance and Research.

The group will bring together governments, private-sector organisations and academia from countries including the UK, US, Russia, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

Industry and academic figures involved in the project include "father of the internet" and Google evangelist Vint Cerf, Trend Micro chair Steve Chang, Professor Fred Piper of the Royal Holloway, former White House cyber-security advisor Howard Schmidt, Symantec chief executive John Thompson, Kaspersky chief executive Eugene Kaspersky, and F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen.