With the world economic institutions under constant threat of cyber attacks, National Cyber Security coordinator Gulshan Rai on Friday said that “cyber diplomacy” was becoming increasingly important .’
Speaking at the International Conference on Cyber law, Cyber Crime and Cyber Security, Rai also stressed that the world faced threats of “cyber warfare” where “multiple organisations come together to launch serious attacks” on countries.
Taking the example of a cyber attack on Bangladesh in February where over $ 81 million was stolen, and last month’s attack in India where 32 lakh debit cards were compromised, Rai said such attacks “created public chaos”. “We don’t know what will come next” he said.
Rai also emphasized the need for greater international “consensus” to create a legal framework for tackling cybercrime, adding that the recent “Brexit and US Elections” had “shown that local issues have become more dominant than global issues.” He also expressed the “hope” that the “new US government would let the IANA transition” (shifting of control over internet domain name), and would not create blocks “the way campaign speeches said.” IANA stands for Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
The “absence of trust” was also identified as an issue by the SMART Africa Alliance’s executive director Hamadoun Toure, who said that the “problem in cyber security is that friends sometimes spy on each other” and introduced “malware” to friendly countries, which was “unfortunate”.
Toure added that the “world war three was around us” through both physical and cyber attacks, and added that “no world leader is saying stop this” even while “what is happening in physical space is happening exponentially more in cyberspace.” Toure, who heads the trans Africa organisation, also said “Sovereignty jurisdiction is an issue” since “domestic laws can get in the way of information sharing” between countries even when there were serious cyber attacks and data leaks.
Trade & Regional Economic Officer with the US Embassy, Wesley Mathews also called for “greater cooperation” among countries for data sharing and protection. Pointing out “problems” of hacking faced by the US government in the recent elections, Mathews said that there were “obstacles” in real time data sharing between countries which needed to be addressed.
UN Office of Outer Space Affairs official Niklas Hedman also called for the need for “close dialogue” between space technology and cyber technology. “there is increasing awareness about threats. We are all dependant on satellites and attacks on the signals affect everybody,” said Hedman.
The conference also saw participation from technology experts, companies, NGOs, government representatives from various countries and transnational organisations.