Crossing Borders

Asymmetry was once a harmless geometric term. But in the 21st century it has morphed into a frightening buzzword. It defines the fact that small cells of criminals, terrorists or malcontents can now wreak devastation out of all proportion to their size, bringing Internet-using organisations to their knees, holding them to ransom, invading national security systems, and paralysing or disrupting national service infrastructures.

The shields these malefactors shelter behind are territorial the way that laws, law-enforcement and the uses of the Internet itself play out in different ways in different nations. Terrorists, spies, phishing attackers, data thieves and vandals, far from being impeded by the frontiers which were once bulwarks of security, now use them to evade detection and capture.

And corporations, too, need to be aware, when their enterprises go global, that the Internet may be a device which crosses frontiers, but it is not an instrument which changes human nature or local culture. The credits which off shoring and outsourcing bring to the balance sheet can be diminished by debit entries in the fields of ethics and safety.

FIRST - Improving Security Together

So how can Internet security answer these challenges and transform itself technically, politically, legally and efficiently into a truly global force for good?

This is the key issue which will be debated at the 20th Annual FIRST Conference in Vancouver, Canada an appropriate location, given its position as a gateway between the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

FIRST took significant steps towards recognising the need to globalise security at its 2006 conference in Baltimore, USA, when a special interest group was created to bring together law enforcement agencies from all over the world and their counterparts in Computer Security Incident Response Teams. The issue was also placed on the 2007 agenda at FIRSTs 19th Annual Conference in Seville, Spain.

In Vancouver the debate will evolve to cover, among other topics:

  • How to connect to and work with law enforcers
  • How to connect to and work with other Computer Security Incident Response Teams around the globe
  • How to interact with Internet Service Providers
  • How to tighten security while staying customer friendly

As the Internet burgeons into new marketplaces, and organisations avail themselves of the opportunities it presents to act and work globally, so the asymmetric threat deepens, its implications become more sinister, and there is an imperative need for all those who have a practical, commercial, legal or technical interest in advancing worldwide security to join FIRST in Vancouver.