FIRST and Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute CERT Coordination Center Unveil New Security Awards

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February 26, 2008

SEI Public Relations
  Kelly Kimberland, APR
  Tel: 412-268-4793
  E-mail: public-relations@sei.cmu.edu


FIRST Public Relations
  Frank Wintle
  Tel: +44 (0)7850 102194
  E-mail: frankwintle@panmedia.co.uk


FIRST and Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute CERT Coordination Center Unveil New Security Awards


Best of the Best Entries Sought on Protecting and Mitigating Security Risks Globally

Vancouver, BC, February 26, 2008 - The first-ever international competition honoring best practices and advances in safeguarding the security of computer systems and networks is announced today by the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) and Carnegie Mellon® Software Engineering Institute (SEI) CERT® Coordination Center (CERT/CC).


The winners will be announced at the 20th Annual FIRST Conference, June 22 – 27, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


This year's inaugural awards bring together two fields of security activity – prevention and mitigation – under the banner "Protect", reflecting the first phase of a computer security incident response team's cycle of activity: Protect, Detect, Respond and Sustain.

Jeffrey Carpenter, manager of CERT/CC, explained that the purpose of the awards from the two organizations is to honor experts worldwide who have developed best practices to prevent cyber attacks or mitigate attacks that are unfolding.

"Security experts who work in the trenches to protect and mitigate their organizations are under-recognized for their work," Carpenter said. "This awards competition will not only highlight best practices, but recognize those individuals whose vigilance 24/7 is largely responsible for protecting the Internet worldwide from security attacks, cybercrime, and many other threats."

FIRST Steering Committee member Peter Allor supports Carpenter's assessment of security experts. "They really are the unknown warriors in a continuing and increasingly fierce and complex battle," he said. "We hope these awards will throw a well-deserved spotlight on individuals and teams who are already beacons of best practice in a dangerous world."

Any working group, team, organization or individual who has developed a best practice is eligible to enter the competition. Top prize is $5,000, and the runner-up will receive $2,000. Submissions must be received no later than Tuesday, April 30, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time(UTC-5).

Submissions must encompass this year’s Protect theme. FIRST and CERT/CC define preventive actions as those that secure and fortify systems and networks, decreasing the chances of an attack against infrastructure. Mitigation involves changing the enterprise infrastructure to contain, eradicate or fix actual or potential malicious activity.

"In each case we are looking for the most innovative strategies and solutions which can be translated swiftly into worldwide best practice to reduce global security threats," said Carpenter "So as well as honoring excellence, this is a competition designed to have a pragmatic and truly useful outcome throughout the worldwide cyber community."


"Since FIRST was founded twenty years ago attacks have mutated from mischief and malice into the darker realms of sabotage, terrorism and organized crime," said Allor. "Never has the work of individuals and teams working in security been so vital. Without it the perils facing governments, businesses, academics and individuals would be overwhelming, and potentially catastrophic."


For further information and to submit papers to the Best Practice Competition, go to www.first.org/conference/2008/contest.html or e-mail first-2008bp@first.org. For further information about, and to register to attend the FIRST Vancouver conference, go to www.first.org/conference/2008/.

About Software Engineering Institute CERT/CC
The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development center operated by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI helps organizations make measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering. The CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) is part of the larger SEI CERT Program and serves as a center of enterprise and network security research, analysis, and training within the SEI. For more information, visit the CERT Web site at www.cert.org and the SEI Web site at www.sei.cmu.edu.

The worldwide Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams is a non-profit organization which leads the world's fight-back against cyber-crime, sabotage and terrorism, and consists of the Internet emergency response teams from 180 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions from across the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. For more information, visit www.first.org.

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