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 Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Africa and Arab States, dedicated to “Connecting the World Responsibly”, aims to identify some of the main challenges faced by countries in Africa and Arab States in enhancing cybersecurity and securing critical information infrastructures.

It will consider best practices, information sharing mechanisms and concrete actions for cybersecurity development, taking into consideration the key principles of matching the borderless, transnational nature of cyber-threats with meeting specific national and regional requirements. The Forum will consider initiatives at the regional and international levels to increase cooperation and coordination amongst different stakeholders. The forum programme will include interactive sessions on the projects and related tools that ITU is working on to assist Member States in developing and implementing cybersecurity capabilities.

Capacity building activities will be undertaken in the following main areas:

  • Development of a legal framework;
  • Development of watch and warning and incident management capabilities, including the establishment of a national computer incident response team (CIRT); and,
  • Actions to be considered when developing a national cybersecurity strategy and harmonization within the key principles of international cooperation.

    The event is expected to bring together government representatives, industry actors, and other stakeholder groups from countries on the African continent and the Arab States to discuss, share information, and collaborate on the elaboration and implementation of national policy, regulatory and enforcement frameworks for cybersecurity. It will benefit information and communication policy makers from ministries and government departments; institutions and departments dealing with cybersecurity policies, legislation and enforcement; and representatives from operators, manufacturers, service providers, industry and consumer associations involved in promoting a culture of cybersecurity.

    The forum will be conducted in English, Arabic and French with simultaneous interpretation. Participation in the Forum is open to all ITU Member States, Sector Members, Associates, and other interested stakeholders, including representatives from regional and international organizations.

    More detailed information about the event (including the draft forum agenda, online pre-registration, fellowship requests (for eligible LDCs) can be found on the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Africa and Arab States website at

    Register for the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Africa and Arab States here.

    We look forward to seeing you at the event!

  • Wednesday, 29 April 2009 10:03:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The Times reports that a young German man, David Heiss, became infatuated with Joanna Witton while playing on a cyber war website set up by Joanna and her boyfriend, Matthew Pyke, in the UK.

    After seeing her photo on Facebook, Mr Heiss made up his mind that she was the girl for him, sending her a stream of disturbing messages despite her protests that she was already in a relationship.

    Travelling to the UK from Germany, Mr Heiss tracked the couple down, committing the murder on his second visit. The killing of the victim was said by the prosecution to be driven by "...obsession for Joanna Witton, who was Matthew's girlfriend, and hatred for Matthew, because he was Joanna's boyfriend".

    (Source: The Times)

    Full Story

    Timesonline website

    Wednesday, 29 April 2009 06:46:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, 28 April 2009

    "Digital technologies, or Information and Communications Technologies as they are commonly known, offer massive opportunities: Innovation and technology are "the backbone of the modern economy," says Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the deputy leader of the Government in the Senate.

    As part of the Government of Australia's efforts at reducing carbon emissions by 2020, the energy sector providers plan to use broadband to improve the way they monitor and manage power distribution. Using broadband to connect power consumers with power generators will allow them to harness means of distribution in a more efficient and reliable manner. Smart grids connected by broadband will also raise the potential to not only monitor energy use but to allow remote adjustment of lights or temperature. This implies the very real possibility of significant carbon emission reductions for the country. 

    Full Report

    Tuesday, 28 April 2009 15:39:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, 27 April 2009

    At the recent RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco, United States, McAfee CEO DeWalt called for a global security architecture.

    "Security threats are on the rise as the economy declines, and the solution will likely come from collaborative partnerships that span all IT platforms and international boundaries." "DeWalt painted a grim picture of the security landscape. Consumer confidence has gone down while unemployment and has risen, he said. And as the economy has gone into a tailspin, cybercrime has seen a sharp upward spike, with more malware detected in 2008 than in the previous five years combined. Last year, 80 percent of cybercrimes were financially motivated, he added."

    "Many organizations are vastly underprotected or fail to regularly update patches and security software, which have opened up copious threat vectors for attackers, DeWalt said. In addition, the explosion of malicious threats in the last year can also be attributed to lack of user education and best security practices, as well as lack of comprehensive security." "One of the solutions, DeWalt proposed, would be to build comprehensive security architecture across numerous IT platforms that would be able to interoperate with companies' existing network infrastructure. That architecture would ultimately allow organizations to create correlating reports for every department and system, while allowing greater overall visibility into their organization's network, DeWalt said." "Cross-platform collaboration provides IT administrators a panoramic view into their network and allows communication across the threat vectors to shore up otherwise unseen security holes." "That same type of collaborative architecture will ultimately be required to extend across international borders and throughout global networks as the threats continue to become more sophisticated and the attacks more prevalent, DeWalt said. "The most depressing part of this is that we do not have a global architecture in place," he said. "We need to work together. Undoubtedly, (attacks) will continue to increase."

    Read the full story on ChannelWeb.

    Monday, 27 April 2009 07:25:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, 24 April 2009

    Following earlier reports of users not being able to delete their personal information, Facebook has now allowed voters to decide on the best way to proceed. In reviewing their policies with users, the popular social networking site has agreed to allow its users greater control of their personal data.

    After a vote, 75% of responders were in favour of these proposed changes, which will allow users to own their own information and also have the right to remove it if they so choose.

    Founder, Mark Zuckerberg explained that the networking site was aiming for a more "...transparent and democratic approach"

    (Source: Telegraph)

    Full story

    Telegraph website

    Friday, 24 April 2009 12:48:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Miguel Angel Mancera, the Attorney General of Mexico City, stated that seven suspects including a Roman Catholic priest, were accused of distributing over 100,000 child sex abuse images (including pictures and videos) of children worldwide. Among the material taken away by law enforcement were CDs, DVDs and computers.

    (Source: CNN)

    Full story

    CNN website


    Friday, 24 April 2009 11:23:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    A new report of the mobile industry shows that some progress has been made by the 26 mobile operators signed up to the "European Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children” brokered by the Commission in February 2007 (IP/07/139). These operators serve around 580 million customers, 96% of all EU mobile customers. "The new report of the mobile phone industry association shows that mobile operators have started to take seriously their responsibilities to keep children safe when using phones," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

    50% of 10 year-old, 87% of 13 year-old and 95% of 16 year-old children in the EU have a mobile phone, but half of European parents worry mobile phone use might expose their children to sexually and violently explicit images (51%) or bullying by other children (49%), according to a survey. The European Commission today called on mobile operators to do more to keep children safe while using mobile phones by putting in place all the measures in the voluntary code of conduct, signed by 26 mobile operators in 2007. The report published by the GSM Association, the trade body of the mobile phone industry, showed that national self-regulatory codes based on the framework agreement brokered by the European Commission now exist in 22 Member States, 90% of them in line with the 2007 agreement, and 80% of operators have put in place measures to control child access to adult content.

    Read the full EC press release from 20 April 2009 here.

    More information on the GSMA report onimplementation of the framework agreement on "Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children" can be found here.

    Friday, 24 April 2009 08:03:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, 23 April 2009

    Chris De Wolfe, MySpace co-founder is reported by the Telegraph to be stepping down as chief executive.

    In 2008, Facebook was reported to be the number one social networking site, relegating MySpace, (with 130 million users globally), to second place.

    As well as tough competition from Facebook, a more recent social networking site, Twitter, appears to be holding its own against MySpace.


    Full story

    Telegraph website

    Thursday, 23 April 2009 15:04:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The Guardian reports that, in one of the first cases of its kind, images of a UK man sexually abusing Thai girls were used to identify him despite the fact that he had taken steps to hide his face.

    Photographs were uncovered during a police search of Dean Hardy's home, where images were stored on memory cards from cameras and the hard drive of a computer.

    A forensic anthropologist examined the freckles and blemishes visible in the images and found them to be identical with those on Mr Hardy's left hand.

    Judge Stone, sentencing, referred to this case as " tourism of the most offensive kind."

    (Source: Guardian)


    Full story

    Guardian website

    Thursday, 23 April 2009 13:46:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, 17 April 2009

    The British Computer Society (BCS)'s website shares information and advice on how to stay safe while shopping online in a set of "Golden Rules" compiled by Global Secure Systems (GSS).

    The twelve golden rules to safely shopping online include the below (detailed information available on the BCS website):

    1. Most malware exploits are known problems with software and operating systems. The hacker, or code writer, is relying upon people being lazy and not keeping systems up to date. For this reason it is very important to keep your anti-virus product up to date with the latest signature files and operating system updates from Microsoft.
    2. Never go online without ensuring you have your personal firewall enabled.
    3. Don't ever select the remember my password option when registering online as your passwords are then stored on the PC, often in plain text, and are the first thing that a fraudster will target. Some
    4. Ensure that your credit cards are registered with your card provider's online security services such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
    5. Use only one card for online shopping, maintaining a limit on the card as low as possible or even using a top-up card for your online purchasing.
    6. Be sure to use a credit card and not a debit card.
    7. Be sure to check your statements regularly, and if there is any sign of irregular activity, report it straight away.
    8. Always check for the little padlock at the bottom right hand corner of the browser (when using Internet Explorer) before entering your card details. 
    9. Make a habit of checking the site's privacy policy for details of how your personal information will be used and only provide the minimum of personal information, especially in online forms.
    10. Never shop from sites that you arrive at from clicking links in unsolicited marketing emails (spam). 
    11. It is important to remember that you could be doing everything right, but that the vendor may do something wrong. A vendor may well be storing all your credit card data on a single server.
    12. Finally, don't rely on previous customer's testimonials - they are part of the organisation's marketing and not necessarily factual. The golden rule of commerce is still the same as it ever was - if the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is!

    The full set of "Golden Rules to Safe Internet Shopping" can be found here.

    For more information see the British Computer Society (BCS) and Global Secure Systems (GSS) websites.

    Friday, 17 April 2009 14:03:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, 15 April 2009

    The Government of Malta has officially announced the launch of three new eGovernment services and an eGovernment Services Directory. The three services are the eHealth portal, the online certificates website and the scholarships service.These initiatives are aimed at improving the service delivery channels available between the Government and citizens.

    "We have compiled this e-Government Services Directory to help users look for the e-services they require. The user may consider this directory as a manual and a complete list of the e-government services launched to date. We will continue to update it with every service launched and an updated version will always be available at" said Austin Gatt, the Maltese Minister for Information, Transport and Communications (MITC).

    The ongoing transformation on the Maltese Government's IT resources is merely part of a much larger restructuring programme in the Government's approach to offering public services.


    See: Full Press Release

    Wednesday, 15 April 2009 10:32:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, 10 April 2009

    ITU is pleased to announce the launch of its 2009 Cybersecurity and ICT Applications Essay Competition.

    The 2009 ITU Cybersecurity and ICT Applications Essay Competition is open to current students and recent graduates in economics, political science, law, literature, telecommunications, computer science, information systems and related fields between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The winners of the 2009 Essay Competition will be offered the opportunity of a consultancy contract within the ITU Development Sector's ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division for three months. The winners will be given a contribution towards the cost of an economy class flight from their place of residence. In addition, they will be paid the sum of CHF 6000 towards living expenses for the duration of the contract.

    To enter the competition you need to submit an essay on one of the following essay topics:

    • Mobiles for Development: Enabling Low-Cost e-Applications for Rural and Remote Areas (e-Health, e-Government, e-Environment)
    • Protecting Children and Youth in the Internet and Mobile Age: Innovative Technical and Social Solutions
    • Connecting the World Responsibly: Empowering Women and Girls Through Creative Uses of ICTs
    • Personal Information Online (internet/mobiles): Responding to User Safety Concerns

    All applications should be submitted online through the competition website.

    The deadline for applications is 14 June 2009.

    We look forward to reviewing your applications and wish you the best of luck in the competition!


    Friday, 10 April 2009 07:17:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, 03 April 2009

    The EU's Commissioner in charge of Information and Communication Technology Viviane Reding, has called on the European ICT sector, which accounts of 2% of carbon emissions, to become the engine in the drive against carbon emissions, by setting trends that can be followed in the wider economy to affect the other 98% of emissions.

    "Personally, I would recommend the ICT sector to lead the way for the rest of the economy by reducing its own carbon footprint by 20 percent as early as 2015", said Reding. "I see from the response of European ICT companies to the Commission's ongoing work that Europe is already well ahead in using ICT to green the economy, with some ICT companies already voluntarily working to reduce CO2 emission by 50 to 80 percent."

    Commissioner Reding cited buildings and transport as other sectors where ICTenabled energy efficiency could have an impact. Recent studies suggest that better use of ICT could reduce energy consumption of buildings in the EU by up to 17% and to reduce carbon emissions in transport logistics by up to 27%.

    Read Full Report

    Source:European Union

    Friday, 03 April 2009 09:06:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    1 April 2009 was the start of a new anti-piracy law in Sweden where, according to traffic data, an immediate and significant drop (over 30 per cent) occurred in the nation's overall Internet traffic.

    "The combined traffic passing through Sweden's Internet Exchange Points usually peaks around 160 Gbit/s, but on Wednesday it peaked at around 110 Gbit/s. That's a huge drop in traffic, and is presumably a direct result of less file sharing taking place. ... Another interesting observation is that there was more traffic than usual during the last days before the law took effect. Were people hoarding films and music? On Tuesday (the day before the law went live) traffic peaked at nearly 200 GBit/s, roughly 25% above normal levels."

    Read the full story and view the related statistics at CircleID

    Friday, 03 April 2009 06:27:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, 27 March 2009

    The European Commission has unveiled new laws aimed at protecting children from online sexual abuse. As a result, individuals who are found to be guilty of abuses such as online grooming or viewing online pornography, may face criminal prosecution.

    (Source: BBC)

    Full Story

    BBC Website

    Friday, 27 March 2009 12:58:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, 26 March 2009

    An advertising campaign by Beatbullying for its new website CyberMentors was helped by the testimony from boxing champion Joe Calzaghe.

    Joe Calzaghe, a spokesperson for Beatbullying, spoke about the misery he suffered during his school years from bullying and how it affected him and changed his personality.

    Adding, "For two years I was bullied, called names and ignored by former friends which turned me from a happy, out-going kid who enjoyed school and schoolwork, into an introverted wreck, detached from his studies and scared of his own shadow during school hours".


    (Source: BBC)

    Full story

    BBC Website

    Thursday, 26 March 2009 11:44:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, 25 March 2009

    The UK government has unveiled plans to monitor social network sites contacts in an effort to “tackle crime gangs and terrorists” , stressing that it “would not keep the content of conversations”.


    Following earlier plans to keep all phone calls, e-mails and websites visited on a central database, the UK government has been accused of putting together a “snoopers’ charter” by campaigners for civil liberties.


    Amid concerns about security, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake stressed his lack of confidence in the security of personal information in a government-controlled database.


    Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer called this latest proposal "overkill".


    An EU directive to store all Internet traffic data will come into force in the UK on 6th April 2009.




    Full story


    BBC website

    Wednesday, 25 March 2009 06:19:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, 24 March 2009

    A new social network site available only for under-18s,, has commissoned a research paper on parental supervision of children online.

    Evidence from this Virtual Parenting Report supports the need for more parental supervision for children online.

    It suggests that parents should treat their children's online safety as having the same risks as  offline safety. There appears to be a false sense of security in parents feeling that their children are less at risk because they are using the Internet whilst in the safety of the family home.


    Full Story

    Telegraph website

    Tuesday, 24 March 2009 07:08:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, 11 March 2009

    In the USA, the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, summoned MySpace to provide the identities of these registered sex offenders to law enforcement.

    Commenting on the responsibility of social networks, Cooper added that, "...MySpace, Facebook and other social networks need to do much more to protect kids online".

    North Carolina state passed a law in 2008 banning sex offenders from registering on networks involving children and young people.


    Full Story

    CNN Website



    Wednesday, 11 March 2009 04:23:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |