First FIRST – Highly deemed as one significant step toward its keen interest for full membership and global recognition, the Philippines has officially expressed its pursuit of becoming one of the affiliates of the Forum of the Incident Response and Security Team (FIRST) through its first-ever in-person attendance and participation at the 34th FIRST Annual Conference held last June 26 to July 1, 2022, at the Convention Centre Dublin in Dublin Ireland.

With the ultimate goal of promoting worldwide coordination and cooperation among computer security and incident response teams (CSIRTs), this year’s theme – “Neart  Le Chéile – Strength Together” primarily aims to provide a forum for sharing goals, ideas, and information on how to improve computer security on a global scale.

The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is an international not-for-profit organization bringing together a variety of security and incident response teams. Today FIRST comprises over 600 member teams from over 90 countries representing government agencies, academia, commercial enterprises, and financial corporations. FIRST is a front-line enabler in the global response community, providing access to the best practices, tools, and trusted communication with its member team.

In December 2021, the CERT-PH submitted its application for FIRST Fellowship and was fortunately accepted in April of this year which granted the CERT-PH the privilege to attend its first FIRST Conference.

The CERT-PH team, represented by Mr. Zareno Reno Topacio alongside Ms. Sarah Mae Mergilino, had the great opportunity to meet different CERTs and CSIRT emanating from diverse countries internationally such as CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC)USA; JPCERT/CC Japan; National center of Incident readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) Japan; Centro de Respuesta a Incidentes Informáticos de la Agencia de Regulación y Control de las Telecomunicaciones (EcuCERT)Ecuador; Dominican Republic National CSIRT (CSIRT-RD) Dominican Republic;  Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) South Korea; Computer Incident Response Team Iceland (CERT-IS) Iceland, to name a few.

The culminating event has enabled CERT-PH to network with colleagues from around the world to exchange ideas and advice on incident management best practices as well as to keep up-to-date with the latest incident response and prevention techniques.

Considered one of the main highlights of the event, the FIRST annual conference has gained sponsorships from various CSIRTs which is a vital move for the CERT-PH to be able to advance its application for Full membership.

Taking into account the next necessary steps towards the application, CERT-PH has created a Technical Working Group composed of internal analysts, engineers, and information officers to comprehensively work on the processing of requirements for its application for FIRST Full membership. Colleagues from Carnegie-Mellon University have also committed to extending their support and assistance during the preparation of the application for the CERT-PH.