Cybersecurity at the forefront of the Munich Security Conference

Some of the more prominent topics of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) 2018 were: Threats of disruptions caused by digital tools; the role of artificial intelligence;, fake news and threats undermining democracies; cyber-conflict and cyber-aggression. At the opening ceremony, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned about increased threats in cyberspace ‘When one looks at today’s cyberspace, it is clear that we are witnessing, in a more or less disguised way, cyberwars between States — episodes of cyberwar between States’. He called for serious discussions about the related international legal framework using the competence of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly as soon as possible. Several lead global IT companies – Siemens, IBM, Deutsche Telecom, Airbus and others – have presented their joint ‘Charter of Trust for a Secure Digital World’ calling for shared ownership of cyber and IT security by various stakeholders, responsibility throughout the supply chain, security by default, education, certification for critical infrastructure and solution, Transparency and response, regulatory framework, and joint initiatives. The final report of the MSC identifies cybersecurity among key threats, together with nuclear and environmental, and suggests key challenges in the field: difference in terminology, application  of the international law, attribution of attacks, sector-specific agreements, and the disagreements about which forum is best suited for further deliberations.