FIRST receives grant for cyber security capacity building in the Pacific Island region

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issues a grant to FIRST to develop training and an event focused on incident response capacity building in the Pacific

18th June 2018 – The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) today announced receiving a grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia to support incident response capacity building within the Pacific Island region.

As part of the agreement, FIRST will develop materials for a breach response workshop, where organizations without dedicated security teams can learn about the implications of a security breach. Experienced trainers will walk organizations through the first steps of investigating a breach, identifying the impact on affected individuals, and how to respond appropriately. The workshop will prepare attendees for existing FIRST training, equipping them with a fully comprehensive program on how to manage security incidents.

In addition, FIRST will organize a security event in the region, focused on countries within the Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON), a network of government-designated cyber security incident response officials from across the Pacific. The event will be hosted in late 2018 or early 2019 and will consist of training and expert presenters. It will also be a platform for sharing local best practices.

Board member and project manager Maarten Van Horenbeeck said: “FIRST has historically operated in the Asia Pacific Region, with events in Colombo, Ho Chi Minh City and others. Thanks to the generous support of the DFAT, we’ll be able to extend our coverage of the region and share our global incident response best practices with a wide community of practitioners in the Pacific Island region. We’re grateful for their support and look forward to cooperating with them and our other regional partners, such as CERT Australia and APNIC, on this event.”

Thomas Schreck, Chair of FIRST, added: “One of the great aspects of this grant is that we’ll be able to use materials that bring both security responders and business leaders into the same room – experience what it takes for technical and non-technical leaders to come together and help protect the security and privacy of individuals affected by security breaches. We’re excited for this project and appreciate the partnership”.

The Pacific Island region consists of islands with populations between 1,000 (Tokelau) and 8 million (Papua New Guinea). Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have varying challenges to conquer for widening internet access, such as a strong reliance on satellite internet connectivity, which drives up internet access costs.

FIRST expects to announce detailed implementation steps for the project in the third quarter of 2018. Organizations with questions or an interest to support the project can contact FIRST via e-mail at


Founded in 1990, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) consists of internet emergency response teams from more than 400 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions across 88 countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. It promotes cooperation among computer security incident response teams. For more information, visit: