Gov grants $1.2M to train luddites

AusCERT caters for home users

The federal government has today launched a $1.2 million national security alert service to round-out its plans to sanitise Internet feeds to families and small businesses.

The StaySmartOnline initiative offers free advice on security best practice, covering Web transactions, password setting, identity fraud and the need for anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall applications.

The announcement coincides with the launch of National E-security Awareness Week which will host public information sessions from security vendors and interest groups.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Web site will raise security awareness in non technical people.

"Many people find Internet security challenging and are looking for simple guidance on what they can do to stay smart online," Conroy said.

"The Web site will include a small business self-assessment tool which will help small businesses analyse their online security practices and adopt appropriate measures to improve online security."

Australia's national Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) secured the tender last year to build and maintain the service until June 2012.

AusCERT will maintain an alert service on the Web site to deliver security updates, including vulnerability and patch management, tailored to home users.

Director Grahame Ingram said AusCERT had to broaden the Web alerts to allow non-technical users to understand the messages.

"I believe we won the tender because we [specialise] in threat monitoring, advise, and assessment," Ingram said.

"The difference is we normally alert IT and network specialists, and we haven't before addressed the home user or small and medium businesses."

Users wanting to download security products are directed to the Internet Industry Association, which represents the interests of 300 online businesses, or to the soon to be defunct NetAlert Internet content filter.

The government announced earlier this year that it will scrap the former government's filtering initiative in December, claiming 80 percent of users which install the software did not continue to use it.

Funds for the $85 million dollar scheme will be re-directed into the government's controversial ISP content filtering scheme, which will impose an opt-out filtered service on all Internet users, rather than offering the application as an optional download.

The StaySmartOnline Web site offers a free subscription service, and lists advice ranging from basic home computing security best practice, to information on how to secure wireless networks and Voice over Internet Protocol.

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More about: AusCert, Computer Emergency Response Team, e-Security, Ingram Micro Australia, Internet Industry Association, National Computer
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