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DSD's 'don't be stupid' mitigation strategies still work

Journos booted from talk in which senior Oz spook says some agencies 'never compromised'

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Defence Signals Directorate assistant secretary for cyber-security John Franzi said little new in an address to CeBIT Australia, but for some reason, either the conference organisation or the DSD saw fit to try to bar journalists from the presentation.

The leaky dam around Franzi's presentation was either ineffective or selective, and seemed to depend on whether the media were recognised at the door or had the correct lanyard colour.

The Register identified at least four journalists – including Vulture South's hack – that weren't stopped at the door, in nearly equal number to those that were.

As it turned out, there was little new to be had from the presentation: Franzi reiterated the DSD's firm belief in its “don't be stupid” principle of security (articulated here), and re-stated that the top four items on that list will mitigate

He claimed that in spite of the increasing number of attempted intrusions, government organisations that have done a good job of following the DSD's safety advice “have not yet been compromised”.

He noted that while the organisation's Cyber Security Operations Centre saw a 42 percent increase in reported attacks to Australian government services between 2011 and 2012 (from 1,260 up to 1,790), this should be seen in the context of the CSOC's own growing sophistication and maturity, as well as that of the “target” organisations. In other words, more attacks were reported because more were discovered and because the target organisations were more willing to report that they had been targeted.

Franzi also said the DSD is hopeful that it will be able to attract private sector interest and partnerships in the Cyber Security Centre announced by the government earlier this year. The new operation will start by concentrating the existing CSOC participants – the DSD, ASIO, AusCERT and others – under a single roof.

However, Franzi said, the DSD hopes to see input from industry, academia and other policy-oriented areas of government into the future.

Exactly why any of this, in a room of fifty or more conference attendees, most with smartphones and some with computers, should be considered a secret to be kept from the media, is a mystery to The Register. ®

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