Niser to address ICT security issues
By I-Mei Low
12th April 2001 (NST - Computimes)

NEWLY formed National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre (Niser) will operate through a co-operative model, involving agencies in the Government and private sectors, communities and individuals to address information and communications technology (ICT) security issues.

Secretary of the National Information Technology Council (NITC), Datuk Dr Tengku Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen, said in delivering the specialised security services, the centre will be supported by seven functions. These are incident response, research and technology assessments, acculturation, security assurance, ICT security policy development, secretariat and expert services.

Tengku Azzman said Niser, which is currently hosted at Mimos Berhad, will also address the training of security consultants.

The centre, he added, is currently collaborating with a well-known American institution on ICT security, system administration and network security to provide technical training and security certification to further enhance Malaysia's capability in various aspects of security.

Tengku Azzman said 13 staff are currently attached to the centre and the number is expected to increase to 30 by year-end. In the next five years, the staff strength is expected to increase to 40, he added.

Tengku Azzman was speaking at the launch of Niser in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. The event was officiated by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who represented Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In his speech, Abdullah said the establishment of Niser reflects the nation's commitment towards the need for a specialised team in handling vast and complex areas of ICT.

The idea, he added, was mooted at the sixth NITC meeting in 1998 where the council approved the creation of the National Network Security and Accreditation Agency which subsequently led to the formation of the centre.

Abdullah said Niser is expected to play a major role in promoting a good information security practice and advising the nation on ICT security issues which may threaten national security that needs prompt attention. "The explosion of the Internet has enabled cyber attacks to be carried out easily in hostile nations, groups and individuals from their home computers which makes Malaysia even more vulnerable.

In response to this threat, the information and communications infrastructure protection is therefore required."

He added that both public and private sectors could benefit from Niser.

Niser will play a role in proposing some measures of security for the Government's consideration.

According to Niser statistics, from August 1997 until March 2001, Malaysia has experienced an accumulated 1,713 ICT security cases with an average of 400 cases each year.