Government safeguards IT against terrorist threats

Safeguarding Australia's critical infrastructure will be the focus of a business-government taskforce meeting being held in Sydney over the next two days.

The taskforce was established late last year and is part of the government's National Anti-Terrorist Plan.

More than 90 per cent of Australia's critical infrastructure is privately owned and includes information systems necessary to support essential services such as banking, finance, telecommunications, transport, power and water supplies.

The taskforce will examine a more co-ordinated approach to protecting these services in conjunction with government agencies in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack.

Attorney General Daryl Williams said it is important to ensure Australia's critical infrastructure is as secure as possible.

"It is equally clear that this responsibility does not rest with the federal government alone," he said.

Speakers at the event include ASIO's director general of security Dennis Richardson, National Office of the Information Economy CEO John Rimmer plus IT companies such as Symantec and EMC.

Ironically in the US the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expected to announced a plan to dismantle the FBI's cyberthreat warning arm the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) this week.

Critics claim such a move could reverse years of progress made toward improving information-sharing between the private sector and government.

FBI director Robert Mueller is planning to break up the NIPC and transfer pieces of the organisation to the FBI's criminal, counterterrorism and counterintelligience, law enforcement and administration divisions.

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