Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Secretary-General I am very happy to welcome you all here to
Geneva for this important workshop. As you know Dr Touré has made security, and
cybersecurity in particular, one of his top priorities. He would have liked to
have been here himself to welcome you but unfortunately has another commitment
Ladies and gentlemen
As the Internet becomes more and more an essential element in our lives, our
economies, and society in general, security is an issue that affects us all. ITU
is recognized as a key player.
It was recognized by the World Summit on the Information Society. WSIS assigned
to ITU the responsibility of facilitating the “building of confidence and
security in the use of information and communication technologies”.
At ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference, which was held a few weeks ago in
Guadalajara, Mexico, ITU’s role in the field of cybersecurity was strengthened
The conference passed several new Resolutions in this area. The first is
entitled ITU's role with regard to international public policy issues relating
to the risk of illicit use of information and communication technologies. It
notes the vulnerability of critical national infrastructure systems which
increasingly depend on ICTs. It asks ITU’s Secretary-General to discuss
alternative approaches to prevent their illicit application, while taking into
consideration the overall interests of the ICT industry.
The second new Resolution focuses on ITU’s role in child online protection, an
area of major concern for us all.
The third new Resolution focuses on definitions and terminology relating to
building confidence and security in the use of ICTs. It refers specifically to
the excellent work of ITU-T Study Group 17 and its Recommendation ITU-T X.1205,
which contains a definition of cybersecurity that will now be applied across
However, when considering the Internet, the problem that we all face is that,
originally, it was not intended to meet the requirements now being placed upon
it. It was never expected to become a critical infrastructure for most countries
in the world, so it was not designed to be particularly secure. Cybercriminals
have been quick to exploit this situation.
By many estimates, cybercrime is now a business that is worth more than a
trillion dollars a year in online fraud, identity theft, and lost intellectual
property. Not to mention the damage inflicted on the innocent and the
vulnerable. If networks were to fail, or to be brought down in almost any
country in the world, there could be civil unrest within days, with consequences
similar to food supplies running low, power failures, or water becoming unsafe
to drink. That is why improving security is one of our top priorities, and will
be a major factor in the design of the future internet.
Our Focus Group on Future Networks is completing a report, in collaboration with
worldwide research institutes and academia, on the visions of future networks,
which will help us develop a view of ITU’s role in future standardization in
Another important decision of the Plenipotentiary Conference was to create a new
membership category for academia and research institutes. They will now be able
to become members of ITU in their own name and at a very reduced membership fee.
So we look forward to welcoming them to ITU. Next week in Pune, India we will be
holding our third annual Kaleidoscope academic conference – on the theme Beyond
the Internet? It promises to be another very interesting event which will give
us further insight into the future.
The Plenipotentiary Conference also agreed a substantially reduced membership
fee for private sector entities in some categories of developing countries.
Both these decisions will be very important for ITU to maintain a leading role
in international ICT standardization, and its assistance to developing countries
to create the national ICT security infrastructures that will bring the benefits
of the information society to their economies and citizens.
In 2007, the Secretary-General launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda. The aim
was to provide a framework to address the increasing global concerns. In the
three years since its launch it has attracted the support and recognition of
government leaders and security experts around the world.
Last month, the Patron of the Child Online Protection initiative within the GCA,
the President of Costa Rica, Her Excellency Laura Chinchilla, together with the
Secretary-General announced a new phase that will provide a framework for
coordinating existing global efforts and implementing a series of activities on
safety training and prevention.
ITU has also developed toolkits on cybersecurity to assist its Members,
especially developing countries. There is strong support for this approach
within the leadership of the UN, the Chief Executives Board, which recently
asked ITU to lead joint actions to further strengthen cybersecurity within the
We are also very mindful of the need to engage with industry. A recent meeting
of our Chief Technology Officers Group emphasized the importance of ITU work on
standards to address security concerns; indeed standardization is essential to
building global ICT security.
As you know, Study Group 17 is the home in ITU-T for this work and it will be
starting its next meeting on Wednesday. The study group has many years of
success in creating some key security standards, such as ITU-T X.509 a
cornerstone of public key infrastructure (PKI) without which the rise of
e-business would not have been possible.
Another very important standard is ITU-T X.805 which gives telecos and
enterprises the ability to provide an end-to-end architecture description from a
security perspective, and allows operators to pinpoint all vulnerable points in
a network, and mitigate them.
Ongoing ITU-T activities include work on architecture and frameworks;
vulnerabilities, threats and risk management; incident handling and trace-back;
countering spam; and security for next-generation networks, IPTV, sensor
networks, mobiles, and emergency communications.
Identity management is a particularly strong focus with a special Joint
Coordination Activity (JCA) designed to coordinate work on this across ITU.
We have also started to look at security concerns in emerging areas such as
smart grids and cloud computing which we will hear more about in one of the
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to congratulate the Chairman of Study Group 17 Arkadiy Kremer for
this initiative and his team for assembling an excellent programme of
distinguished speakers. This workshop is a good opportunity for non-members of
ITU-T to engage with the ITU experts from around the world. Of course, I will
also take this opportunity to encourage non-members to join ITU and make a
contribution to this important work, and build upon this network of
international experts. No other organization has this unique mix of 192
governments and over 700 private sector entities.
We recognize however that in the vital area of security, no one organization is
big enough to go it alone. ITU is very keen to collaborate with all other
relevant organizations, and to coordinate our work so that together we share and
promote the best practices that will bring confidence and security in the use of
ICTs for all the citizens of the world.
Thank you all for coming, I thank the organizers, and the moderators and
speakers for their contribution, and RANS for offer us a reception this evening.
I wish you a very productive and enjoyable workshop.