Australian support to boost cybersecurity threat response

By Alexander Rheeney 20 July 2023, 5:08PM

A series of workshops and hands-on training are part of moves to strengthen Samoa's cybersecurity framework and its ability to respond to cyber threats.

Australia is supporting Samoa's capability building through collaboration with Samoa’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and its Samoa Computer Emergency Response Team (SamCERT) Division.

Retrospect Labs, an Australian-based cybersecurity firm, is delivering a "Defensive Readiness and Cyber Security Exercise Program" from 17–21 July 2023 through funding from the Australian Government to deliver these trainings in Samoa and the region according to a press release issued by the Australian High Commission in Apia on Wednesday.

The program comprises a series of cyber security exercise-based workshops and hands-on training for Samoa’s critical infrastructure organisations from both private and public sectors. This program was developed by Retrospect Labs together with MCIT to better reflect Samoa’s cyber security needs.

Australia’s support for Samoa’s cyber security aligns with the Pathway for the Development of Samoa and its National Cyber-Security Strategy which aims to address cyber-crime, build a modern cyber-safe digital economy, and promote the appropriate use of technology.

Australia's High Commissioner to Samoa, Emily Luck spoke of the need to have a "safe and secure digital ecosystem" for the benefit of the people of Samoa.

“We know the transformative power of the digital world to connect and lift communities. A safe and secure digital ecosystem ensures people and ideas continue to flourish," she said. "We are working together with Samoa and the region to ensure we are equipped to tackle the evolving challenges in cyberspace."

While Ryan Janosevic, the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Retrospect Labs, said the impact of a cybersecurity incident can be immense.

“As experienced Incident Responders, we understand firsthand the challenges organisations face in responding to a cyber security incident. We also understand how catastrophic a cyber incident can be, and how critical Incident Response skills are to limiting the impact and harm of a cyber incident," he said. "We’re very proud to be delivering our exercise program in Samoa, and to be part of Samoa’s journey to continue to improve their Incident Response readiness and resilience."

The MCIT Chief Executive Officer, Lefaoalii Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti, expressed his appreciation to the Australian Government for their support to build Samoa's response capability.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the Australian Government for their continuous support in cybersecurity," he said. "Through the establishment of SamCERT under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, they have dealt with cyber issues and acted as front liners in responding to any cyber incident in Samoa. 

"The training conducted by Retrospect Labs this week is another testament to this support, and we are grateful for their assistance." 

Australia continues to support Samoa’s cyber aspirations, including through support for MCIT’s SamCERT Division since its establishment in 2019.  SamCERT is Samoa’s National Cyber Security Agency that provides awareness and support to Samoans and local organisations to be better able to respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents.

By Alexander Rheeney 20 July 2023, 5:08PM
Samoa Observer

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