Customs airport security review could tighten EDS outsourcing

The findings of an independent security review at the Australian Customs Service (ACS) will go to Federal Cabinet this week and could result in tighter outsourcing arrangements between Customs and EDS.

As the outsourcing provider, EDS played a central role in securing the two computer servers stolen from Sydney airport last month.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested two unemployed men, aged 24 and 19. They have been charged with stealing and will appear in court on October 14.

An EDS spokesman confirmed that one man worked for EDS from December 2001 to January 2003.

However, EDS and the AFP would not discuss operational matters, including how the men gained access to the building, but Computerworld understands fake ID was used.

The review, which is being undertaken by Signet Group International, is expected to take a microscopic approach to uncover how the security breach occurred in a facility listed as critical infrastructure by the Federal Government.

Signet Group's principals are Rex Stevenson, a former director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and James Allen, a former deputy commissioner of the AFP.

Despite the sinister motives that were raised by national security analysts after the theft, Computerworld understands the motive simply involved a former disgruntled EDS employee seeking quick cash.

The former employee had contacted a well-known secondhand computer dealer for a sale, dismissing the value many IT security analysts had placed on the information that may have been accessed during the theft.

The Minister for Justice and Customs, Chris Ellison, said he was satisfied the theft was a criminal enterprise motivated by commercial gain and did not pose a threat to national or aviation security.

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