Attorney general backs global call for security guidlelines update

Operators and users of communication networks and critical information systems are being called upon to implement new security guidelines as part of a global initiative.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international working party representing more than 30 nations including Australia, issued security guidelines intended to safeguard critical infrastructure.

In a statement the office of the Attorney General Daryl Williams announced it will encourage the dissemination of these guidelines through a business-government taskforce on Critical Infrastructure Protection. The taskforce was established late last year as part of the government's National Anti-Terrorist PlanWilliams urged involvement from users of critical information infrastructure and anyone with access to information systems to "make a safe and secure information environment" under the new guidelines.

The guidelines, which aren't binding for any nation or company, deal with problems arising from the growth of globally networked information system, in particular the Internet.

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.

Australia played a role in developing guidelines, with Peter Ford, a senior officer in the Attorney General's department, chairing the working party, The OECD first issued guidelines in 1992 but has revised them to take into account the changes in IT since then, as well as the concerns raised by the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

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