Why international cooperation is needed to thwart cybercrime

Security

by Duncan MacRae| 26 February 2014

RSA calls for unity among nations and cyber security specialists.

Executive VP of EMC Corporation and executive chairman of RSA, Art Coviello, used his keynote speech at RSA Conference 2014 to call for international government and industry cooperation on major issues including cyber war, surveillance, privacy and trust on the Internet.

He said: "The tension between and among the competing interests of governments, business, and individuals in the digital world should not be surprising. Information has become more easily accessible, and more valuable. We are in the midst of a fundamental and historic shift in the use of Information Technology, a shift that is already having monumental implications for the future of our society and culture. The rapid expansion and democratisation of technology has brought the agendas of disparate groups crashing together with unpredictable consequences."

Coviello pinpointed four guiding principles to encourage debate and action by all parties with a common vested interest in ensuring a safer Internet:

Renounce the use of cyber weapons, and the use of the Internet for waging war.

"We must have the same abhorrence to cyber war as we do nuclear and chemical war."

Cooperate in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of cyber criminals.

"The only ones deriving advantage from governments trying to gain advantage over one another on the Internet are the criminals. Our lack of immediate, consistent and sustained cooperation, globally, gives them the equivalent of safe havens."

Ensure that economic activity on the Internet can proceed unfettered and that intellectual property rights are respected.

"The benefits to all of us from the improvements of productivity in commerce, research, and communication are too valuable to not achieve agreement. Rule of law must rule!"

Respect and ensure the privacy of all individuals.

"Our personal information has become the true currency of the digital age. While it is important that we are not exploited, it is even more important that our fundamental freedoms are protected. But with our personal freedom comes responsibility. Governments have a duty to create and enforce a balance... a balance based on a fair governance model and transparency."

Coviello also argued for changes at the NSA and intelligence organisations around the world to adopt a governance model that more clearly separates their defensive and intelligence gathering roles.

Coviello noted that digital technology, Big Data and the emergence of the Internet of Things are key elements of what he referred to as a "historic shift in the use of information technology."

He added that the digital capabilities of today have the power to solve many of our societal ills but they also have the power to destroy and must have agreed-upon norms for their acceptable use. "We must bring together the vested interests so that an environment of positive dialogue is built," he said.

"We urgently need these systems to be intelligent and integrated enough to automate responses that isolate compromised elements and prevent harm, not only in today's hardware-defined infrastructures, but also in the new generation of software-defined networks and infrastructures," he said.

In an age of user-defined IT, Coviello explained the need for a more intelligence-based approach to identity systems that enable security teams to balance the needs of users and IT departments while still being able to enforce policy over user devices. He went on to clarify that identity governance must be managed in both mobile and cloud environments, recognising that new solutions are needed to "...adapt to the evolution of identity in the user-defined age of IT."

Coviello concluded by reiterating his call to governments to adopt the four principles and encouraged the security industry to do its part to create secure frameworks and technology needed to help ensure a safer and more trusted digital world.

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