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 Monday, January 26, 2009

Despite the number of data breaches which have occured in the UK over the past year, the UK Government has now authorised 390,000 professionals (including local authorities, police, health service and children's charities) direct access to contact details on all under 18-year-olds in England.

This  224 million pounds ContactPoint database was developed following the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000, when Social Services were highly criticised for lack of coordination and adequate follow-up of children at risk.

It is hoped that this database will go some way to preventing children from slipping through the net.

The Conservatives voiced their concern by stating that this database was "another expensive data disaster waiting to happen". The Liberals were equally opposed, calling it an "intrusive and expensive project".

(Source: BBC NEWS)

Full Story

BBC website

 

 

 

Monday, January 26, 2009 2:45:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 23, 2009

NYTimes writes that "A new digital plague has hit the Internet, infecting millions of personal and business computers in what seems to be the first step of a multistage attack. The world’s leading computer security experts do not yet know who programmed the infection, or what the next stage will be. In recent weeks a worm, a malicious software program, has swept through corporate, educational and public computer networks around the world."

"Known as Conficker or Downadup, it is spread by a recently discovered Microsoft Windows vulnerability, by guessing network passwords and by hand-carried consumer gadgets like USB keys. Experts say it is the worst infection since the Slammer worm exploded through the Internet in January 2003, and it may have infected as many as nine million personal computers around the world."

This article was accessed through Dave Farber's list.
See the full article in NYTimes here.

Friday, January 23, 2009 3:49:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, January 18, 2009

Well-known British Child Psychologist, Tanya Byron compares the dangers of letting children use the Internet without supervision to allowing them to cross dangerous roads without assistance.

"Government must be co-ordinated in its approach, we must have a national strategy" Byron states, adding,

"Now Obama has laid out his ambitious strategy and France has just published its own, too, there's a bit of a race on to lead the way in protecting children online...."

She encourages parents to take an interest in their children's online activity as well as providing commonsense advice such as putting the family computer in the living room as opposed to the child's bedroom.

(Source:Telegraph)

Full story

Sunday, January 18, 2009 4:23:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 15, 2009

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Emily Steel looks at who should bear the responsibility for protecting children online following the release of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force report on child esafety.

Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina is reported as saying, "Clearly the main responsibility is on parents."  adding, "..because technology companies are providing the gathering space and encouraging children to come, they have a duty to put in place technologies that can help protect kids".

Acknowledging efforts by social networking sites such as MySpace to respond to reports of abuse within 24 hours, as well as blocking child predators from their network.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Read article here

Wall Street Journal

Thursday, January 15, 2009 12:14:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, January 10, 2009

A number of children at a London girls school were suspended from school as a result of posting "deeply insulting comments" about a staff member who is reported to be receiving counselling as a result.

The group of girls, aged between 11 and 18 signed up as members of The Hate Society on Facebook. The headteacher of Grey Coat Hospital School, Rachel  Allard stated, "We can confirm that a number of pupils have been given fixed term exclusions for between 2 and 15 days after the school became aware of their involvement in a hate campaign about a member of staff using an open Facebook group.."

 

(Source: Telegraph)

Full story

Telegraph website

Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:06:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 06, 2009

In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, John Carr, from the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety argues that cohesion within the Internet industry can do much to address child online safety "without the need for direct government intervention".

(Source: Guardian)

Read letter here

Guardian website

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:41:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A recent ITU study dedicated to the "Financial Aspects of Network Security: Malware and Spam" (July 2008) reviews some of the current leading thinking and research on the economics of cybersecurity. The full study can be found here.

Security flaws are often due to perverse incentives rather than the lack of suitable technical protection mechanisms. As individuals and companies do not bear the entire costs of cyber incidents, they do not tend to protect their system in the most efficient way. If they did support all the financial consequences, they would have stronger incentives to make their network more secure for the good of all interconnected networks. Measures to improve information security enhance trust in online activities and contribute directly and indirectly to the welfare gains associated with the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

However, some expenditure on security is only necessary because of relentless attacks by fraudsters and cyber-criminals that undermine and threaten trust in online transactions. Such costs are not welfare-enhancing but instead a burden on society. Two vectors through which such attacks are carried out are malware and spam. During the past two decades, the production and dissemination of malware has grown into a multibillion dollar business. Damages created by fraudulent and criminal activities using malware and the costs of preventative measures are likely to exceed that number significantly. Malware puts the private and the public sector at risk because both increasingly rely on the value net of information services. Spam and malware have multifaceted financial implications on the costs and the revenues of participants in the ICT value chain. The costs carried by all stakeholders across the value network of information services are affected directly and indirectly by this. But most of the financial flows between the legal and illegal players in the underground cybercrime economy are only partially known. The ITU study is a survey of existing resources and data available when it comes to the economics and financial aspects of cybersecurity.

Access the ITU study on the "Financial Aspects of Network Security: Malware and Spam" (July 2008) here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 8:45:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The 2008 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is being held 3-6 December 2008 in Hyderabad, India. The third meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will be focusing on the overall theme of ‘Internet For All’. The main sessions are organized as three thematic days under the following headings: ‘Reaching the Next Billion’, ‘Promoting Cyber-Security and Trust’, ‘Managing Critical Internet Resources’ with the last day covering ‘Emerging Issues - the Internet of Tomorrow’ and ‘Taking Stock and the Way Forward’.

Transcripts of the main session, webcasts, and contributions to the dicussions can be found on the IGF website.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:13:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 13, 2008

ITU launched a new initiative today to safeguard children, the most vulnerable users of the Internet. Addressing ITU’s high-level meeting on cybersecurity by video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "We have to protect against cyberthreats, especially when they target children. I welcome the ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative and urge all States to support it."

The Child Online Protection initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere. While the virtual world offers unlimited opportunities in many respects, it is also the hunting ground for cybercriminals and paedophiles. Recognizing that a concerted global effort would be required to ensure that the cyberworld becomes a safe place for young people to work, learn and play, ITU is working with other UN agencies, including UNICEF, UNICRI and UNIDIR.

Building confidence and security At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, ITU was entrusted by leaders of the international community with Action Point C5: "building confidence and security in the use of ICTs". As an intergovernmental organization with a network of 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates, ITU was a logical choice. In 2007, in answer to this responsibility, Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), an international framework that addresses 5 main aspects: legal measures technical and procedural measures organizational structure capacity building international cooperation The WSIS outcomes also specifically recognized the needs of children and young people and their protection in cyberspace.

The Tunis Commitment recognized "the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the protection of children and in enhancing the development of children" and the need to "strengthen action to protect children from abuse and defend their rights in the context of ICT". The COP initiative is in line with ITU’s mandate to establish the foundation for a safe and secure cyberworld for future generations. The need for COP is clear. A decade ago, there were just 182 million people using the Internet globally — and almost all of them lived in the developed world. By the end of 2008, however, there will be over 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide, and more than 400 million of them will have broadband access — vastly increasing the dangers online, especially for children. With over 600 million users in Asia, 130 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 50 million in Africa, the Internet is a growing common resource. 

"ITU is the lead UN agency on ICT for Development," said Mr Sami Al-Basheer, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "In working towards an all-inclusive information society we must ensure that children everywhere can enjoy the benefits of ICTs while being protected from the risks posed by inappropriate use."

Read the full press release for the COP initiative here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:00:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 01, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 7 to 9 October 2008.

The forum, which was hosted by the State Agency for Information Technology and Communications (SAITC) of the Republic of Bulgaria, aimed to identify some of the main challenges faced by countries in Europe and CIS in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and CIIP, to consider best practices, share information on cybersecurity development activities being undertaken by ITU as well as other entities, and review the role of various actors in promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The forum also considered initiatives on the regional and international level to increase cooperation and coordination amongst the different stakeholders.

Approximately 130 people from 25 countries participated in the event from Europe and CIS, as well as from other parts of the world. Simultaneous interpretation in Russian and English was provided for the participants throughout the forum. Full documentation of the forum, including the final agenda and all presentations made, is available on the event website. The meeting report available on the event website summarizes the discussions throughout the three days of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Europe and CIS, provides a high-level overview of the sessions and speaker presentations, and presents some of the common understandings reached at the event.

See the website for further information.

 

Saturday, November 01, 2008 9:23:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau launched the study report "ICTs for e-Environment - Guidelines for Developing Countries, with a Focus on Climate Change", which is intended to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to environmental change, including climate change, through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Although ICTs require energy resources, they also offer a number of opportunities to advance global environmental research, planning and action. This includes monitoring and protecting the environment as well as mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. The report also looks extensively at the use of ICTs in many different aspects of work on the environment, including environmental observation, analysis, planning, management and protection, mitigation and capacity building.

In order to assess the adoptability of selected ICT applications for environmental management in developing countries in general, the report proposes a ranking system with parameters such as (a) environmental scope, (b) technology, (c) transferability, and (d) impact.

Furthermore, the ICTs for e-Environment report considers over 150 ICT applications in one of its annexes, including the name of the ICT applications, description, area of work, sponsor, region, active dates, and relevant web references.  

Not all countries have the capacity to take advantage of these technologies in order to use the full potential of ICTs for environmental action. The report states that there is a clear need for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to global environmental action through access to ICTs and the use of information technologies and management practices to eliminate duplication of efforts. This can be done by consolidating action at national levels on the many and varied environmental conventions and initiatives that developing countries have already agreed to in principle. ICTs provide a unique opportunity to do so while assisting in building local capacity to use these tools and practices.

There is also a need to assign the environment a more important profile in ICT strategic planning initiatives at the national level and, in particular, in e‑Governance and e-Goverment initiatives so that the use of ICTs for the environment is integrated into planning processes from the beginning, along with other national priorities and initiatives.

The report proposes a methodology to undertake rapid national e‑Environment assessments as well as to develop and implement national e‑Environment strategies. Among other proposals, the report recommends the preparation of an e‑Environment toolkit comprised of best practices as one practical method to assist developing countries to take advantage of ICTs for environmental research, planning and action. Strengthening ongoing research activities is another proposal as well as placing more focus on the environment sector in e‑Government initiatives. Working on a regional basis may be the best approach for smaller, landlocked or island jurisdictions, such as small island developing states.

Whatever approach is taken to support the use of ICTs for environmental action in sustainable development, it must be undertaken in close collaboration with key development partners at the national and international level and in consultation with actors in the public and private sectors as well as civil society.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 3:42:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 01, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa was held in Lusaka, Zambia from 25 to 28 August 2008.

The forum, which was hosted by the Communications Authority of Zambia and the Government of Zambia, and jointly organized by ITU and COMESA, aimed to identify the main challenges faced by countries in the region in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and CIIP, to consider best practices, share information on development activities being undertaken by ITU as well as other entities, and review the role of various actors in promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The forum also considered initiatives on the regional and international level to increase cooperation and coordination amongst the different stakeholders.

Approximately 60 people from 21 countries and 4 regional organizations participated in the event. Among the participants were professionals from governments, regulatory authorities, private sector, and civil society. Full documentation of the event, including the final agenda and all presentations made, is available on the event website. The meeting report available on the event website summarizes the discussions throughout the four days of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa, provides a high-level overview of the sessions and speaker presentations, and presents some of the common understandings and positions reached at the event. 

The third day of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum, 27 August 2008, was dedicated to specific working sessions on developing national and regional cybersecurity/CIIP capacity through three working groups. The working groups focused on 1) developing a national cybersecurity strategy, 2) legislation and enforcement and, 3) watch, warning, and incident response. In addition to the overall forum recommendations, specific recommendations and suggestions were developed by the three ad hoc working groups: Working Group 1: Regional Approach for the Development of a National Cybersecurity Strategy; Working Group 2: Legal Foundation and Enforcement; and Working Group 3: Watch, Warning, and Incident Response.

See the event website for more information.

Monday, September 01, 2008 8:33:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The ITU-D recruited an expert to produce a study report concerning "Electronic Government for Developing Countries", which is intended to help address challenges in formulating e-Government policies. The draft version as of August 2008 is now available online on the ITU-D ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division (CYB) website.

The purpose of this report is to examine the adoption of e-Government services in countries with developing economies. As the day-to-day business of a public administration is to build on data and information, using the latter is critical to help ensuring its accountability, managing its operations, and to allow its citizens to participate in the country's governance. With the revolutionary changes that ICTs are bringing to our global society, public administrations worldwide continue to develop more sophisticated ways to digitize their operations and practices so that they can offer the public access to government services in more effective and efficient ways.

The seven key recommendations outlined in this report are:

  • Developing a strategic plan to guide e-Government services;
  • Understanding the needs of citizens and of all public administration segments;
  • Using well established system development practices for e-Government services;
  • Creating a learning organization;
  • Developing effective ICT governance mechanisms;
  • Developing ICT capabilities, including human resources capacity building and suitable ICT infrastructure; and
  • Developing an e-Government security and disaster recovery plan.

To continue reading the report and its case studies, click here. More information on ITU-D activities related to ICT applications, click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:52:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 01, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Asia-Pacific, and related Seminar on the Economics of Cybersecurity was held in Brisbane, Australia, 15-18 July 2008.

The regional cybersecurity forum, which was hosted by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), Government of Australia, aimed to identify the main challenges faced by countries in the region in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and CIIP, to consider best practices, share information on development activities being undertaken by ITU as well as other entities, and review the role of various actors in promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The forum also considered initiatives on the regional and international level to increase cooperation and coordination amongst the different stakeholders. The forum, one in a series of regional cybersecurity events organized by the ITU Development Sector (ITU-D), was held in response to ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 130: Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies (Antalya, 2006) and the 2006 World Telecommunication Development Conference Doha Action Plan establishing ITU-D Study Group Question 22/1: Securing information and communication networks: Best practices for developing a culture of cybersecurity. 

Approximately 90 people from 27 countries participated in the event, from the Asia-Pacific region, the Pacific Islands, as well as from other parts of the world. Full documentation of the forum, including the final agenda and all presentations made, is available on the event website. The meeting report available on the event website summarizes the discussions throughout the three days of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Asia-Pacific, provides a high-level overview of the sessions and speaker presentations, and presents some of the common understandings and positions reached at the event.

The day prior to the start of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Asia-Pacific, 15 July 2008, was dedicated to an ITU Tariff Group for Asia and Oceania (TAS) Seminar on the Economics of Cybersecurity. Throughout the seminar the participants learned about the pervasive incentives and the new revenue streams that are created from malware and spam, how they enable legitimate business models (e.g., anti-virus and anti-spam products, infrastructure, and bandwidth) as well as fraudulent and criminal ones (e.g., renting out of botnets, bullet proof hosting, commissions on spam-induced sales, pump and dump stock schemes). Distinguished experts in this area explained how malware and spam create mixed and sometimes conflicting incentives for stakeholders, which complicate coherent responses to the problem. An ITU Study on the Financial Aspects of Network Security: Malware and Spam was presented and discussed at the event.

See the event website for more information.

Friday, August 01, 2008 8:43:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |