Wednesday, 27 June 2018 11:41

Network expert calls for setting up telco security assurance centre

Dr Mark Gregory: "With the rapid increase in global threats, it is time to put in place a dedicated centre that can mitigate telecommunications security risks." Dr Mark Gregory: "With the rapid increase in global threats, it is time to put in place a dedicated centre that can mitigate telecommunications security risks." Supplied

A respected academic and network expert has written to a number of top politicians proposing the creation of a pilot telecommunications security assurance centre to implement and oversee security procedures for evaluating telecommunications infrastructure and systems.

Dr Mark Gregory, an associate professor in network engineering at RMIT University, sent the letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, and Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland.

He said the security and resiliency of telecommunications would only be enhanced by a telecommunications security assurance centre that was able to offer technical advice to the Critical Infrastructure Centre in the Department of Home Affairs.

Dr Gregory's suggestion comes at a time when the Australia Government is pondering whether to allow Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei a role in 5G rollouts in the country. Doubts have been cast over the company because of its origins and Chinese law.

He said there plenty of examples of similar centres and pointed to the UK, Canada, India and New Zealand.

"For the past seven years, I have been working with Enex Testlabs, which is based in Melbourne, to develop the capability for the telecommunication security assurance centre and to advocate support for this Centre to industry," the letter said.

"With the rapid increase in global threats, it is time to put in place a dedicated centre that can mitigate telecommunications security risks by carrying out security assurance testing of the telecommunications infrastructure and systems."

Dr Gregory said having such a centre that was able to to technically investigate and report upon telecommunications infrastructure and systems security was in the national interest.

"I request that consideration be given to implementing a pilot centre at RMIT University in conjunction with Enex Testlabs, Communications Alliance and the Critical Infrastructure Centre of the Department of Homeland Security," his letter said.

"This would provide an opportunity for government, industry and other key stakeholders to participate in the development of this new capability."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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