Cybersecurity

Updates

Among the outcomes of the Commonwealth Summit, held in April in London, is the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration. The Commonwealth reflects the diversity of global community including, small and big countries, developed and developing countries. The declaration shows the importance of the ‘UN trinity’ - security, development, and human rights. It focuses heavily on cybersecurity, followed by development and economy, and human rights aspects. It anchors cyber policy in national environments while introducing some new conceptual for international cooperation such as voluntary review of national cybersecurity.​

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – part of the Department of Commerce – has launched a 'lightweight cryptography initiative' aimed to develop cryptographic algorithm standards to protect the data created by small networked devices such as those in the Internet of Things (IoT). Within this initiative, the NIST will solicit, evaluate, and standardise lightweight cryptographic algorithms to ensure protection against cyber-attacks for so-called 'highly constrained devices. As part of the process, the institute has launched a call for assistance in developing requirements and guidelines for the envisioned cryptographic solutions. Before the middle of the year, NIST intends to launch a formal request for proposals for cryptographic algorithms, which will undergo review and will be considered for standardisation.

Thirty-four global companies - including Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, Arm, ABB, Telefonica, Cisco and Dell among others - have signed The Cybersecurity Tech Accord, publicly committing to protect and empower civilians online and to improve the security, stability and resilience of cyberspace. The companies committed to four principles: the protection of all of their users and customers everywhere; opposition to cyberattacks on innocent citizens and enterprises from anywhere; helping empower users, customers and developers to strengthen cybersecurity protection; partnering with each other and with like-minded groups to enhance cybersecurity. Signatories of the Accord will define collaborative activities they will undertake to further the Accord and will report publicly on the progress in achieving the goals.

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Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.

Today, the cybersecurity framework includes policy principles, instruments, and institutions dealing with cybersecurity. It is an umbrella concept covering (a) critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP), (b) cybercrime, and (c) cyberconflict.

As a policy space, cybersecurity is in its formative phase, with the ensuing conceptual and terminological confusion. We often hear about other terms that are used without the necessary policy precision: cyber-riots, cyberterrorism, cybersabotage, etc. In particular, cyberterrorism came into sharper focus after 9/11, when an increasing number of cyberterrorist attacks were reported. Cyberterrorists use similar tools to cybercriminals, but for a different end. While cybercriminals are motivated mainly by financial gain, cyberterrorists aim to cause major public disruption and chaos.

Cybersecurity policy initiatives

Cybersecurity is tackled through various national, regional, and global initiatives. The main ones are described below.

At national level, a growing volume of legislation and jurisprudence deals with cybersecurity, with a focus on combating cybercrime, and more and more the protection of critical information infrastructure from sabotage and attacks as a result of terrorism or conflicts. It is difficult to find a developed country without some initiative focusing on cybersecurity.

At international level, the ITU is the most active organisation; it has produced a large number of security frameworks, architectures, and standards, including X.509, which provides the basis for the public key infrastructure (PKI), used, for example, in the secure version of HTTP(S) (HyperText Transfer Protocol (Secure)). The ITU moved beyond strictly technical aspects and launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda. This initiative encompasses legal measures, policy cooperation, and capacity building. Furthermore, at WCIT-12, new articles on security and robustness of networks and on unsolicited bulk electronic communications (usually referred to as spam) were added to the ITRs.

A major international legal instrument related to cybersecurity is the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, which entered into force on 1 July 2004. Some countries have established bilateral arrangements. The USA has bilateral agreements on legal cooperation in criminal matters with more than 20 other countries (Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaties (MLATs)). These agreements also apply in cybercrime cases.

The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI) was given its mandate from Heads of government of the Commonwealth in 2011 to improve legislation and the capacity of member states to tackle cyber crime. Dozens of partners involved with CCI assist interested countries with providing scoping missions, capacity building programmes, and model law outlines in the fields of cybercrime and cybersecurity in general.

The G8 also has a few initiatives in the field of cybersecurity designed to improve cooperation between law enforcement agencies. It formed a Subgroup on High Tech Crime to address the establishment of 24/7 communication between the cybersecurity centres of member states, to train staff, and to improve state-based legal systems that will combat cybercrime and promote cooperation between the ICT industry and law enforcement agencies.

The United Nations General Assembly passed several resolutions on a yearly basis on ‘developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security’, specifically resolutions 53/70 in 1998, 54/49 in 1999, 55/28 in 2000, 56/19 in 2001, 57/239 in 2002, and 58/199 in 2003. Since 1998, all subsequent resolutions have included similar content, without any significant improvement. Apart from these routine resolutions, the main breakthrough was in the recent set of recommendations for negotiations of the cybersecurity treaty, which were submitted to the UN Secretary General by 15 member states, including all permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Events

Actors

(EBU)

In an environment increasingly characterised by digital convergence, the EBU is working on supporting its memb

...

In an environment increasingly characterised by digital convergence, the EBU is working on supporting its members in their digital transformation processes, in promoting and making use of digital channels, and in identifying viable investment solutions for over-the-top (OTT) services. The organisation has a Digital Media Steering Committee, focused on ‘defining the role of public service media in the digital era, with a special focus on how to interact with big digital companies’. It also develops a bi-annual roadmap for technology and innovation activities, as well as a Strategic Programme on Broadcaster Internet Services, and it has a dedicated Project Group on OTT services.

(GCSP)

As part of its Emerging Security Challenges Programme, the GCSP has a

...

As part of its Emerging Security Challenges Programme, the GCSP has a cybersecurity cluster which tackles cybersecurity issues through education and training activities, as well as policy analysis and events. The cluster also provides a platform for dialogue and exchanges on cyber challenges, among cyber experts from the public, private, and civil society sectors. The training and education activities cover areas such as cybersecurity strategy formulation, cyber diplomacy, and broader capacity building initiatives (e.g. workshops and student challenges). Policy papers produced by the GCSP examine issues such as computer network defence, future challenges in cyberspace.

(ICT4Peace)

In the area of online content policy, the ICT for Peace Foundation is engaged in activities concerning the use

...

In the area of online content policy, the ICT for Peace Foundation is engaged in activities concerning the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. The Foundation is organising events and producing publications on this issue, with the main aim of raising awareness and promoting a multistakeholder dialogue on possible solutions for countering terrorist use of the Internet. Together with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the organisation runs a global engagement project working with other stakeholders to develop community standards around the prevention of violent extremism online, consistent with UN principles, including in the area of human rights.

(UNIDIR)

As part of its Emerging Security Issues Programme, UNIDIR carries out research and provides exp

...

As part of its Emerging Security Issues Programme, UNIDIR carries out research and provides expertise and support to advance policy processes in the area of cybersecurity. The Institute acts as expert consultant to the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security. It also organises an Annual Cyber Stability Conference, which discusses possible steps towards a more stable and predictable cybersecurity environment. The research undertaken by the Institute focuses on new cybersecurity challenges, and it is mainly aimed at assisting states in better understanding these challenges as they span across traditional legal and national boundaries.

(WEF)

Within the framework of its Digital Economy and Society initiative, WEF has launched the

...

Within the framework of its Digital Economy and Society initiative, WEF has launched the Internet for All project, aimed at bringing online tens of millions of Internet users by the end of 2019, initially through programmes targeted at the Northern Corridor in Africa, Argentina, and India. In addition to this project, WEF also undertakes research on Internet-access-related issues. One notable example is the annual Global Information Technology Report and the related Networked Readiness Index, which measures, among others, the rates of Internet deployment worldwide. Internet access and the digital divide are also addressed in the framework of various WEF initiatives such as its annual meetings and regional events.

(GCSCC)

The Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre has developed the 

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The Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre has developed the Cybersecurity Capacity Maturity Model for Nations, a model to review cybersecurity capacity maturity across five dimensions, which aims to enable nations to self-assess, benchmark, better plan investments and national cybersecurity strategies, and set priorities for capacity development. GCSCC is also developing a model for understanding the harm experienced by nations as result of a lack of capacities. The Cybersecurity capacity portal, developed by the GCSCC in partnership with the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), is a global resource for cyber capacity building which enables sharing of practices and experiences.

Article 19
(Article 19)

G20
(G20 )

CyberGreen Initiative
(CyberGreen)

Microsoft
(Microsoft)

Interpol
(Interpol)

Instruments

Conventions

Resolutions & Declarations

Wuzhen World Internet Conference Declaration (2015)
IPU Resolution on the Contribution of new information and communication technologies to good governance, the improvement of parliamentary democracy and the management of globalization (2003)

Standards

Recommendations

Other Instruments

2015 Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (2015)
2013 Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (2013)

Resources

Articles

Apple vs FBI: A Socratic Dialogue on Privacy and Security (2016)
The UN GGE on Cybersecurity: The Important Drudgery of Capacity Building (2015)

Publications

Internet Governance Acronym Glossary (2015)
An Introduction to Internet Governance (2014)

Papers

From Articulation to Implementation: Enabling Progress on Cybersecurity Norms (2016)
Expert and Non-Expert Attitudes towards (Secure) Instant Messaging (2016)
International Cybersecurity Norms. Reducing Conflict in an Internet-dependent World (2014)
A Security Analysis of Emerging Web Standards. HTML5 and Friends, from Specification to Implementation (2012)

Reports

Towards a secure cyberspace via regional co-operation (2017)
Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2017 (2017)
State of DNSSEC Deployment 2016 (2016)
Comparative analysis of the Malabo Convention of the African Union and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime (2016)
Enabling Growth and Innovation in the Digital Economy (2016)
One Internet (2016)
Blue Skies Ahead? The State of Cloud Adoption (2016)
Cybersecurity Competence Building Trends (2016)
Automotive IoT Security: Countering the Most Common Forms of Attack (2016)
Stocktaking, Analysis and Recommendations on the Protection of CIIs (2016)
The Global Risks Report 2016 (2016)
Best Practice Forum on Establishing and Supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) for Internet Security (2015) (2015)
NI Trend Watch 2016 (2015)
OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015 (2015)
Global Internet Report 2015 (2015)
Best Practices to Address Online, Mobile, and Telephony Threats (2015)
Global Cybersecurity Index & Cyberwellness Profiles (2015)
Security: The Vital Element of The Internet of Things (2015)
Cybersecurity Capacity Building in Developing Countries. Challenges and Opportunities (2015)
Riding the Digital Wave. The Impact of Cyber Capacity Development on Human Development (2014)
Best Practice Forum on Establishing and Supporting Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) for Internet Security (2014) (2014)

GIP event reports

SME Cybersecurity: Let's Take Action! (2018)
The Proposal for a Digital Geneva Convention – Implications for Human Rights (2017)
GPW 2017: Summary of Discussions on Conflict Prevention and New Technologies (2017)
Roundtable Discussion: A New Digital Geneva Convention? (2017)
Recent Cyber Incidents - Patterns, Vulnerabilities and Concerns (2017)
Preventing Cyber Conflicts: Do We Need a Cyber Treaty? (2017)
Looking Ahead: What to Expect in the Cyber Realm (2017)
Launch of the SCION Pilot Server (2017)
How Can Technological Solutions Advance Cybersecurity? (2017)
DNS Abuse Discussions at ICANN60 (2017)
Geneva Digital Talks: What can Geneva offer in Global Digital Governance? (2017)
Digital citizenship, Integration, and Participation (2017)
At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and Regional Leaders Wrap Up – Part 1 (2017)
Keynote Speech at EuroDIG 2017 – Göran Marby, ICANN (2017)
EuroDIG 2017 Welcoming Address (2017)
Alice in Wonderland – Mapping the Cybersecurity Landscape in Europe and beyond (2017)
Domain Names Innovation and Competition (2017)
Cybersecurity – The Technical Realities Behind the Headlines (2017)
Global Survey of Internet User Perceptions (2017)
Cybersecurity and Cybercrime: New Tools for Better Cyber Protection (2017)
Report for Symposium on The Future Networked Car (2017)
Report for World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 (2017)
Report for Violent Extremism Online – A Challenge to Peace and Security (2017)

Other resources

Security and Privacy Handbook: 100 Best Practices in Big Data Security and Privacy (2016)
The CEO's Guide to Securing the Internet of Things - Exploring IoT Security (2016)
GSMA IoT Security Guidelines (2016)
Combating Spam and Mobile Threats - Tutorials (2016)
Cyber Security Guidelines for Smart City Technology Adoption (2015)
Symantec 2015 Internet Security Threat Report (2015)
Security Guidance for Early Adopters of the Internet of Things (2015)
DNSSEC: Securing your Domain Names (2014)
Symantec Monthly Threat Report
M3AAWG Best Practices
DNSSEC Deployment Report

Processes

Session reports

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UNCTAD 2018

WSIS Forum 2018

12th IGF 2017

WSIS Forum 2017

IGF 2016

WTO Public Forum 2016

WSIS Forum 2016

WSIS10HL

IGF 2015

 

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