Australia is leading the formation of an Asia-Pacific regional strategy to battle IT security with the drafting of a cooperative agreement to be signed by participating countries by the end of the year.
A meeting of Asia-Pacific region computer emergency response teams was held before the start of the AusCert Asia Pacific Information Technology Security Conference today on Queensland's Gold Coast to develop a regional strategy for IT security and to put in place working arrangements for information sharing between countries and to coordinate an effective response to threats.
AusCert general manager Graham Ingram said governments from participating countries are also involved in the initiative to position and secure the region in the global community.
Dubbed the APCert Agreement, Ingram said the initiative will allow governments and industry to identify issues and trends specific to the region and improve incident response capabilities.
"Asia-Pacific region governments recognise that IT security underpins growth and confidence for regional economies so we are putting the infrastructure in place for information sharing, regional training and development and secure communication channels for sensitive information," Ingram said.
There are still a number of countries to join the initiative, but those currently working on the second draft of the agreement include Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Speaking at the conference, Ingram said there are large networks of vulnerable systems in the region with places like South Korea and Vietnam being hit hard by worms and viruses.
In South Korea for example, Code Red and Nimda hit 50,000 systems across 14,000 organisations which led the government to introduce a national awareness scheme and the introduction of an emergency line, Cyber 118 (similar to 000 in Australia), to call when a threat emerges.
While an emergency response team is yet to be established in Vietnam, Ingram said the government provides free antivirus software for users to download.