There are simply too many barriers in the way, boss of International Cyber Security Protection Alliance tells London conference
An international agreement on cyber security is a long way off, according to John Lyons, chief executive of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance.
Speaking at the National Security 2012 Conference held in London, Lyons said there are simply too many barriers in the way, such as nations prioritising their own cyber security and the issue of some nations being more advanced than others.
"If we accept for a moment that the vast majority of attacks on our government, businesses and citizens are orchestrated and carried out by groups outside our jurisdiction, then presumably you will also accept that working together internationally on the identification, investigation and disruption of cyber attacks must be a key part of defending our national security interests," he said.
That, he added, is easier said than done. "It is clear to those of us working internationally on cybercrime and security issues that as nations we are each working at a different pace and understandably were often concerned most with our national security programs and strategies," he told the conference.
"To add to the complexities we face we have a whole series of difficult issues facing us when we try to find a way through the mire of often conflicting national imperatives: As countries we do not implement internationally-accepted ICT standards; we’re at different points on the curve of digital development; national infrastructure, often in the hands of private sector companies, is not equipped to mitigate a substantial and sustained cyber attack; and our law enforcement and security agencies operate at vastly different levels of capability and capacity," Lyons warned.
Another issue complicating matters is the different laws around the world that are often "incompatible", meaning is is difficult to bring suspects to justice, Lyons said. He used the case of Gary McKinnon as a perfect example of this: "A man arrested in 2002 in London at the request of the FBI. He still awaits news of whether or not he’ll be extradited to the US to face trial for his alleged crimes"
It is not all doom and gloom, however. Lyons told the conference that there is hope but it will require a bit of a rethink.
"It’s obvious that a one-size-fits-all solution to international engagement does not exist. It will require significant effort and international funding aimed at helping nations improve their cyber resilience and security across government departments, businesses and citizens too," he concluded.