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CSIRT Development in Asia – contributing to a safer cyber space in Asia-Pacific

It is almost exactly two years since the CSIRT in Asia meeting and an introduction to TRANSITS course was organised for the very first time at APAN44 meeting in China. On this occasion the need for similar meetings and affordable CSIRT training for the NRENs in the Asia-Pacific region became apparent.

As a result, the CSIRT Capacity Building in Asia: Providing Security Trainings and Facilitating Creation of a Trusted Information Sharing Platform was born. We then proposed to organise 4 CSIRT in Asia meetings and full TRANSITS I trainings at APAN events in 2018-2019, inviting attendees from 16 beneficiary countries in the region, aiming to create a self-sufficient trusted network in Asia-Pacific for R&E security experts, to provide affordable, state of the art, high quality training to CSIRT personnel in the region and equip the participants with the knowledge and materials needed to give security training in their constituencies.

The latest event of the CSIRT Capacity Building in Asia project took place at APAN48 in Putrajaya, Malaysia on 24-25 July 2019. The meeting and training were attended by 17 funded participants from Afghanistan (for the first time!), Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand and 6 unfunded participants (from Pakistan, Philippines and Japan). TRANSITS I course was given by Jamie Gillespie, APNIC (Operational and Technical modules) and Nicole Harris, GÉANT (Organisational and Legal modules). An additional course – Introduction to Risk Management – was given by Alf Moens, SURFnet. There were 13 presentations at the CSIRT in Asia meeting, highlighting the most important issues or developments in the area of cyber security in the presenters’ countries, followed by many warm invitations to visit all of the amazing places the presenters came from!

This CSIRT in Asia meeting and training was the last one organised as part of this project at APAN meetings to date. There is great expectation that this activity will continue in some way, hopefully led by those who attended one of the events in the past few years.

Even though we have only just finished the fourth activity and are getting ready for the fifth and final one (TRANSITS “Train the Trainer” event happening at APNIC48 conference), it is pretty clear already that the goals were fully met and expectations exceeded making the project a great success for all involved. The mere fact that more than 60 R&E staff in the region successfully completed the CSIRT training means that the academic cyber space in Asia-Pacific has become a significantly safer place.

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