Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to take the podium once again to address you on a topic which
ITU believes is of key strategic importance in the growth and development of
tomorrow’s Information Society.
Information and communication technologies are transforming our world at a
breakneck pace. As the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs, ITU has long
been a champion of the power of technology to improve lives and create more open
and equitable societies.
But with the birth of cyberspace we’ve also seen the birth of cybercrime, with
highly organized criminal gangs targeting companies, individuals – and,
increasingly – children.
The dark side of the Net is not a nice place. The Web is now being used for
identify theft, fraud, illicit gambling and pornography of the most appalling
Independent agencies estimate that there are now over 40,000 different viruses
on the Internet. Spyware programmes, which collect information from users’ PCs
without their knowledge, are believed to infect more than 80% of all business
The rise of identity and information theft is already beginning to pose a
serious threat to the Internet’s ongoing viability as a commercial platform. In
the US alone, the Federal Trade Commission estimated that around 10 million US
consumers each year now fall victim to some form of identity theft.
Spam, too, is a mounting problem that is costing businesses an estimated 100
billion dollars annually. Global watchdog Spamhaus now blocks more than 50
billion email spam messages every day – yet most of us have become habituated to
finding our inboxes clogged with unsolicited messages, many of which are selling
fraudulent goods, or involve financial scams, or are attempts to incite us to
supply personal details that will be used for ID theft. Spam sent by infected
zombie PCs accounts for around 75 percent of global email traffic – and as many
as one million new machines are being infected every day.
In 2007, ITU decided it was time to get to grips with this rising tide of
cybercrime, which threatens to undermine the benefits of a network that has the
potential to serve as the most powerful force for development and the
advancement of knowledge that the world has ever seen.
We recognized that just as cyberspace has no constraining frontiers, so too
cybercrime cannot be simply contained within one country, or one region. Every
nation, every company and every individual is at risk. That’s why the only
effective approach must be an international one based on coordinated global
action and timely and effective information sharing.
ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda is a harmonized global framework that draws on
the best of existing initiatives around the world to create a practical,
workable international approach to combating cybercrime and cyberterrorism.
ITU is particularly well-placed to serve as the broker and coordinating agency
for the CGA. As the only UN agency to embrace a mix of public and private sector
members, ITU already boasts a long and successful history of forging
public-private sector consensus on the way the world manages globally shared ICT
resources such as satellite orbits and radiofrequency spectrum.
In 2005, the UN World Summit on the Information Society mandated ITU to take a
leading role in ‘building confidence and security in the use of ICTs’ through
its role as sole facilitator of WSIS Action Line C5. This resolve was
strengthened by the 2006 World Telecommunication Development Conference in Doha,
and later that same year by Resolution 130 of ITU’s own Plenipotentiary
Conference in Antalya.
I’m very pleased to say, that, with the delivery of the final report of the CGA
High Level Experts Group, the Global Cybersecurity Agenda is rapidly gaining
momentum, as we move steadily towards global agreement on an international set
of cybersecurity principles and best practice approaches that countries around
the world can follow.
The GCA has been endorsed by the WSIS stakeholder community at this year’s WSIS
Action Line C5 Facilitation Meeting, as well as by the Internet Governance
It has attracted world-class patrons, including the Nobel Peace Laureate and
President of Costa Rica, Dr Óscar Arias Sánchez, and Mr Blaise Compaoré,
President of Burkina Faso.
And it has succeeded in garnering the active support of many Member States as
well as regional institutions like the African Union, which have offered to
collaborate under the GCA umbrella.
At our recent ITU Telecom Asia event in Bangkok, I was delighted to be able to
announce the signing of a key strategic Memorandum of Understanding between ITU
and IMPACT – the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Terrorism
– that will see that organization’s 13 million dollar state-of-the-art
infrastructure in Cyberjaya, Kuala Lumpur, become the first physical home of the
The agreement will help build synergies in areas like real-time analysis,
aggregation and dissemination of global cyberthreat information, to help speed
early warning and response to cyberattacks. It will also provide very valuable
capacity building through training initiatives in the technical, legal and
policy aspects of cybersecurity.
ITU is also leveraging the Memorandum of Understanding we signed with Microsoft
at our 2007 Connect Africa event, to develop a new Cybersecurity Gateway. This
portal, which will build on our successful collaboration on the ITU Global View
statistical mapping initiative, will provide a central focal point for
organizations around the world looking to find and exchange information on
And because children are increasingly vulnerable online, ITU will soon be
launching the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative. COP is an international
collaborative network based on a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral
partnership for joint action to promote the online protection of children
worldwide – through education and e-safety awareness-raising, and facilitating
the development and use of appropriate technologies.
COP will draw together an effective package of policies and practices, education
and training, and infrastructure and technology, underpinned by an awareness and
communications strategy that addresses the needs of all stakeholders with a role
to play in this environment.
Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
If we are to make real and tangible progress in stamping out cybercrime, I urge
all of you to actively support the GCA, and to ensure that CGA-aligned
cybersecurity provisions are included in your national ICT policies and
legislation. We value your input, and we need your cooperation, if we are to
ensure that anti-cybercrime measures spurred by the GCA are effective as quickly
as possible. ITU pledges to support you and your institutions in every way we
can to implement the best practices and approaches outlined in the Agenda. For
your part, we simply request your involvement and your commitment to an open,
cooperative collaboration with neighbours and colleagues around the world.
I look forward to working closely with many of you over the coming months to
drive this important initiative forward, for the benefit of governments, the
private sector, and individuals everywhere.
Cyberspace can be a magical place. Let’s make sure it is also a safe place for
ourselves, for our business sectors, and most importantly of all, for our