Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to the ITU and for
those who have come from far away, welcome to Geneva.
Since the first phase of the World Summit on the Information
Society in Geneva, the representatives of the peoples of the
world have agreed to a common vision on the information society
and the potentials of information and communication technologies
in promoting the development goals of the MDGs.
In the second phase of the World Summit in Tunis, the
representatives of the peoples of the world agreed on an Agenda
for meeting commonly agreed goals.
Last year in May during the first WSIS Action Line C.5
facilitation meeting held at ITU HQ in Geneva, in addition to
spam, work programmes in the following three focus areas were
- National Strategies
- Legal Frameworks
- Watch, warning and incident response
We now need to analyze the changes that have occurred since
then, evaluate the progress achieved and agree on ways forward.
While significant progress has been made in the use of ICTs as a
vehicle for social and economic development, in order to meet
our goals and reap the full benefits of the information society,
we must address the current and emerging threats to the
Increase in number, scope and the degree of
sophistication of attacks
Much has changed since 1986 when the first known case of a
computer virus aimed at advertising a Computer Store in Lahore
Pakistan was reported.
Just a few years ago the development and dissemination of
malware (viruses, worms, and Trojans) was more to demonstrate
the technical skills of information technology (IT)
Today, it is a new form of organized cyber-crime aimed at
financial gains with an expansion of the threats to various
platforms and many countries.
Spam today is a vehicle for the delivery of more dangerous
payloads such as the dissemination of viruses, worms, Trojans
used for online financial fraud, identity theft and many other
forms of cyber-threats.
These threats are spreading to critical infrastructures and are
affecting the integrity of systems linked to services in health,
commerce, public administration and other sectors.
The attacks are becoming more sophisticated as hackers begin to
shift from the central command and control model for controlling
botnets to a peer-to-peer model with a distributed command
structure which could spread over computers located in several
This change in strategy makes it very difficult to pin-point the
origins of these attacks and consequently makes it difficult to
identify them and shut them down.
As more users rely on their mobile for voice and data
communications and as mobile phones increasingly use Internet
Protocol one can easily see how cyber-criminals can re-cycle
existing tools and techniques to expand their activities to
This expansion will not be limited to smart mobiles, wireless
networks and smart satellite receivers but could expand to
household appliances connected to the Internet and therefore
This clearly is a problem which has a global scope.
Lower entry barrier and ease of acquiring Cybercrime
It is today relatively easy to acquire toolkits for phishing
and malware from underground sites or purchase them legally from
Websites that can be reached globally.
This significantly lowers the financial and intellectual entry
barriers for cyber-criminals and facilitates the exchange
through the Internet of such tools, the expertise required to
use them and strategies for avoiding their detection.
As information technology becomes more and more parts of our
lives there is a high chance that cyber-threats will spread to
new levels and affect us in ways not known today.
With more than 1 billion people connected to the Internet from
all countries and the global nature of the information society,
geography and time can no longer be considered effective
barriers to attacks.
Legal: Loopholes in current legal frameworks
Cyber criminals are already exploiting vulnerabilities and
loopholes in national and regional legislation.
They shift their operations to countries where appropriate and
enforceable laws are not yet in place and use these new
locations to launch attacks even to victims located in countries
which have laws in place.
Some countries have adopted or are working on legislation to
combat Cybercrime and other misuses of information technology.
Most of these laws are elaborated to be enforceable in
well-defined jurisdictions which are national, sub-regional or
These attempts do not provide a comprehensive solution to the
global nature of the legal challenges faced today.
They will result in shifting the problem from one country to the
next because cyber-criminals cannot be bound to any territory or
jurisdiction. Cyber criminals do not have to be in the same
location as their victims.
Technical Measures: Vulnerabilities of software
Many of the threats we face today such as malware (viruses,
worms, Trojans) are due to a wide range of issues including
security vulnerabilities in network, host and application
Hackers exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized
access to critical resources and use these hijacked systems to
launch other attacks.
There are several initiatives led by industry and governments to
address vulnerabilities in security software through standards,
accreditation schemes and certification.
However, there is a lot that needs to be done for standard
applications on which many users, businesses, companies and
government rely for the delivery of services.
Some of these applications provide services in sectors such as
health, finance, commerce and public administration.
For many countries that rely on ICTs for delivery of services in
critical sectors such a health, the consequences of modifying a
patient’s medical data could have effects that go far beyond
Organizational: Absence of appropriate organizational
The absence of structures in many countries to respond to
incidents is a real problem when dealing with combating
Cybercrime and responding to cyber-attacks.
Some countries and regions have set up structures for watch,
warning and incident response and have put in place mechanisms
for coordinating their actions and reduce the effects of
cyber-attacks to users.
However, many cyber-attacks are not limited to defined
territories and regions as viruses and worms can spread through
emails to users located in any part of the globe.
The need to ensure proper coordination between organizational
structures at the national, regional and global level is vital
for a coordinated and rapid response to reduce the effects of
There are initiatives aimed at bringing together some of these
organizational structures at the national and regional levels in
order to facilitate communication and coordinate actions.
These efforts need to be expanded globally because the problems
are not limited to a region or sub-region.
It is necessary to enhance cooperation between these national
and regional structures in order to provide global solutions to
these global issues.
In Cybersecurity, people are the weakest link.
People are the users, they develop the systems, elaborate the
policies and they put in place the strategies and procedures.
Capacity building and an adequate level of awareness is
therefore one of the principal challenges we face today.
Like using any modern infrastructure, children surfing in a
cybercafé need basic awareness on how to safely use this new and
very powerful communication tool.
They need to be aware of dangers related to revealing personal
information such as their name, telephone number and address to
cyber-hawks who pretend to be children and lure them to physical
In this era of global connectivity, we need to ensure that the
minimum basic information on how to safely reap the full
benefits of the information society is available to all.
It is a global problem and it needs a global solution
It is difficult today for countries to shut down their borders
to incoming cyber threats.
We can not restrict cyber-criminals to geographical locations.
Cyber-criminals do not have to be in the same location as their
Laws, technological measures and other strategies that are
national or regional are very important but they do not address
global nature of the challenges we face today.
Understanding what Cybersecurity means to all
We need to work together in a collective manner to identify
those actions and strategies necessary to address the global
challenges we face today.
Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs which is why
we are here today, means different things to different countries
In order to arrive at global solutions to the challenges we
face, we must take account of the views and priorities of all
countries and stakeholders.
We must arrive at a common understanding on how we can address
the needs of least developed, developing, transition economies
and developed countries.
ITU as a forum for international cooperation in
With its 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector members and
Associates ITU is well placed to provide the forum for
international cooperation in Cybersecurity.
Its Membership includes the least developed, developing,
emerging economies and the industrialized countries.
Its lead role as Facilitator for WSIS Action Line C.5, its
mandate in the standardization and development domains of
Cybersecurity and having Cybersecurity as one of its long term
strategic goal provide the right environment bringing together
all interested stakeholders to work on strategies and solutions
to these global challenges.
The strategy for a solution must take account of existing
national and regional initiatives, the full engagement of all
countries and the participation of all relevant players to avoid
On 17 May, which is the 142 anniversary of ITU, I will be
launching the Global Cybersecurity Agenda.
The Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) is a multi-stakeholder
framework that will build on existing initiatives, partners and
take full advantage of recognized sources of expertise.
Its purpose is to identify those common and global challenges
and propose concrete solutions.
The Global Cybersecurity Agenda is aimed at making progress on
commonly agreed goals in our collective the fight against
It is aimed at leveraging the potentials of the ICTs in
promoting the development goals of the MDGs through confidence
and security in the use of ICTs.
I invite you all to join us in our efforts so that we can put
together our resources and expertise in a coordinated, global
and coherent strategy to build confidence and security in the
use of ICTs.
We should use these two days to exchange views and ideas on the
focus areas for the next year with the objective of making the
information society more secure and for ICTs to deliver their
full potential to all peoples.
I wish you a successful meeting and look forward to the results
achieved at the end the two days.