Marconi votes WA

Marconi votes WA

Marconi Australia pulled an all-nighter last month to secure the Western Australian Electoral Commission's network during election day.

Network engineers worked around the clock from February 10-11, monitoring to ensure hackers and other unauthorised parties did not gain access to the live tally information as it was compiled.

Marconi was subcontracted to design and implement the security policy and network by services giant CSC several months before the election date had been announced.

The integrator used Check Point's FireWall-1 and ISS's RealSecure software, which was donated free of charge for the project to reduce taxpayer expense.

The network covered the tally room where TV channels Seven and Nine and the ABC were located an operations room where 20 people entered tally information into the system, links to the Labor and Liberal Parties, as well as to Pretzel Logic for real-time Web updates, Marconi said.

But it was the pressure of securing disparate connections to the same network that kept Marconi on its toes, company officials said.

"Once the election date was announced, things built up like the proverbial snowball. Specifications for the network changed completely and we were given the assignment to design, build, implement and manage a relatively large and robust environment, which would provide end-to-end network security," Mike Russell, WA manager for Marconi, said.

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