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6th International Conference - Security and Trust for Infocommunication Networks and Systems
Moscow, Russian Federation
5 April 2007

Opening Remarks by ITU Deputy Secretary-General Mr Houlin Zhao 

Dear participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning,

It is my pleasure to give some brief opening remarks to you here for this important annual conference. Over the last years, I have been to Moscow several times, including the last two visits to Moscow to join the conferences organized by RANS. This visit is the third time that I come under the kind invitation of RANS. I see that we have a very full and busy programme today so I will be brief.

To start with, I would like to forward to you the greetings from the Secretary-General of ITU, Dr. H. Touré, myself, and the whole team of ITU elected officials.

At the start of the 21st century, our societies are increasingly dependent on networked ICTs – information and communications technologies -- that span the globe. These networks are responsible for a growing share of national wealth, as well as providing hopes for greater prosperity.

However, this dependency has also brought new risks. In a recent ITU survey, almost two thirds of respondents reported that they avoid undertaking certain activities online due to a lack of trust. Fear of identity theft, viruses, spyware, phishing and loss of personal information were some of the main concerns, together with the growing risks and nuisance of spam. Along with growing threats and attacks on critical networked infrastructures, these collectively fundamentally threaten the future of global communications. There is a growing misuse of electronic networks for criminal purposes or for objectives that can adversely affect the integrity of critical infrastructures within States.

Left unchecked, there is likely to be a steady decline and dwindling confidence in the medium unless we explore new ways to build a safer digital society. How should we do that? It is a new kind of challenge with many questions and still too few answers. And in particular, since cyberspace does not respect national borders, and because no country alone can solve the world’s cybersecurity problems, we must find new methods for regional and international cooperation. International cooperation is necessary to build consensus and provide more global convergence of separate national approaches. Key activities would include the development of international standards, information sharing, halting cyber-attacks in progress, coordinating legal systems, cross-border prosecution and providing assistance to developing nations.

The ITU’s Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun Touré, considers cybersecurity to be one of his highest priorities during his term in office. He has also emphasized that the serious and evolving nature of those cyber threats requires an effective partnership between government, private sector and other actors. ITU, which is a unique forum of 191 Member States, 700 private sector members and other actors, has a long history of consensus building which should be used to ensure safety in cyberspace.

Over 70 ITU-T Recommendations are published in the field. ITU-T Recommendation X.509, developed in 1988, for electronic authentication over public networks, and ITU-T Recommendation X.805, which deals with security architecture for end-to-end communications are two examples. A handbook “Security in Telecommunications and Information Technology – An overview of issues and the deployment of existing ITU-T Recommendations for secure telecommunications” was prepared by ITU.

ITU has also organized many workshops, seminars, to address this issue. The Global Symposium of Regulators put the security high on its agenda.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), at its Phase II meeting in Tunis, November 2005, requested ITU to play the facilitator/moderator role for WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs. To stress the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, ITU has the Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity Initiative. ITU will host a meeting in Geneva on 14-15 May 2007 to further an ongoing international work programme in areas such as harmonizing of cybercrime legislation and developing watch, warning and incident response capabilities.

As an example of our information sharing activities, we have created a Cybersecurity Gateway at www.itu.int/cybersecurity/ which is an easy-to-use information portal on national and international cybersecurity related initiatives worldwide.

At the recent ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, which was held in Antalya, Turkey, November 2006, the ITU Members reconfirmed Resolution 130 “Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies” and instructed us to put a focus on initiatives to assist developing economies with cybersecurity and combating spam,and seek ways to enhance the exchange of technical information in these fields, promote implementation of emerging protocols and standards that further enhance security, and promote international cooperation. This is clearly now also a matter of strategic economic interest for advanced economies. Here I can assure you that ITU is determined to be at the forefront of international development efforts. ITU will therefore be making extensive efforts to promote cybersecurity in developing economies through a range of initiatives such as organizing regional meetings amongst developing economies to build expertise; monitoring progress made at national levels; building out watch, warning and incident response capabilities and coordinating experience-sharing on a peer-to-peer basis amongst developing countries and with their more advanced counterparts.

To date there have been a number of regional initiatives but what is missing is a real universal approach to securing cyberspace involving all governments and the private sector who operate most of today’s networks. This represents a huge challenge. It’s clear we need some sort of platform or framework to facilitate the dialogue amongst all the important actors who must be engaged in the process of securing cyberspace. We are looking for input from our membership on what sort of specific international institutionalized framework we should consider creating to foster better cooperation on cybersecurity and countering spam.

The Russian Administration and Russian experts have played a very active role in all these activities in ITU. The overall Russian contribution is very much appreciated and I do encourage you to continue. I would like to take this opportunity to praise the great efforts made by the Russian Administration, by Russian industry and its experts in the development of cybersecurity. Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to Mr. Arkadiy Kremer, Vice-Chairman of ITU-T SG 17, the leading technical body on security within ITU, for his excellent contribution to the work of ITU’s security study and for organizing this conference.

Thank you for your kind attention and my best wishes for a very successful event.




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