ASEAN countries signed multiple statements on deepening cooperation in cybersecurity with various key partners. During the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN countries and their eight partners issued a statement on deepening cooperation in the security of information and communications technologies (ICTs), vowing to promote an open, secure, stable, accessible, and peaceful ICT environment; work together to protect their ICT networks and provide assistance to states that do not have sufficient capacities in this regard; foster cooperation to support a secure and resilient digital infrastructure; and strengthen cooperation on personal data protection. ASEAN countries also issued a joint statement with Russia, acknowledging the need to elaborate on the already proposed norms of responsible behaviour of states in cyberspace; the importance of developing a peaceful, secure, and resilient rules-based ICT environment; the need to prevent the use of information resources or technologies for criminal or terrorist purposes; and to narrow the digital divide. ASEAN countries stated they will consider the initiative of the Russian Federation on an ‘ASEAN-Russia Dialogue on ICT security-related issues’. On 16 November, ASEAN countries issued a statement on cybersecurity cooperation with the USA as well, pledging to strengthen cybersecurity in ASEAN; committing to promote norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in peacetime developed by the UN Governmental Group of Experts (UN GGE) in 2015; and to explore ways and build capacities to counter the use of ICTs for terrorism as well as its forms and manifestations on the Internet.
Cyber-attacks can have a background in international relations, or bring about the consequences that can escalate to a political and diplomatic level. An increasing number of states appear to be developing their own cyber-tools for the defense, offence and intelligence related to cyberconflict.
The use of cyber-weapons by states - and, more generally, the behavior of states in cyberspace in relation to maintaining international peace and security - is moving to the top of the international agenda.