The Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON) was established on 30 April 2018, as a network of government-designated cyber security incident response officials from across the Pacific.
The first meeting took place in Brisbane last week. We welcomed over 20 participants from 14 countries: Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Australia's Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Dr Tobias Feakin, launched the event. "This initiative is timely for our region with the rapid increase of internet connectivity across the Pacific. PaCSON is a vehicle we can use for closer sharing of cyber security threat information, tools, techniques and ideas between nations" he said.
Members participated in a cyber security information exchange, an advanced persistent threat incident response discussion exercise, a cyber security awareness-raising workshop and an in-depth session with our region's newest computer emergency response teams from: Papua New Guinea, Tonga and New Zealand.
One participant expressed that PaCSON was an "excellent initiative in bringing this group together – well covered and highlighting the gap in regional cyber resilience capabilities and capacity."
The PaCSON initiative is funded by the Australian Government through DFAT's Cyber Cooperation Program (CCP) and was announced as a flagship initiative by Australia's Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP at the launch of the International Cyber Engagement Strategy in October 2017.
The CCP is a $15 million investment to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific to develop their institutional capacity across a full breadth of cyber issues, including addressing cyber security threats and combatting cybercrime. PaCSON aligns to the Government's priority to create a strong and resilient cyber security posture for Australia, the Indo-Pacific and the global community.
PaCSON will work closely with organisations in our region that share the objective of an open, free and secure internet. A PaCSON Executive Committee has been elected to guide the goals and objectives of the network, with New Zealand elected Chair, Tonga elected Deputy Chair, and Samoa elected Incoming Chair.
CERT Australia will continue to provide support to this network by providing a secretariat function as well as operational and technical guidance.