Seek cooperation on cyber attacks to avert confrontation
Senior officials in the defence department of the UK and the US have asked all countries to join hands against cyber threats and develop a formal international charter to prevent "serious international tensions".
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific security forum in Singapore, British Defence Secretary Liam Fox and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that international cooperation was important to tackle growing threats to cyber security.
However, neither Fox nor Gates blamed China for the recent hack attacks on Google’s databases, saying no single country is responsible for the menace, reported AFP.
China minister for national defence Liang Guanglie also attended the forum.
Gates said "we take the cyber threat very seriously and we see it from a variety of sources, not just one or another country."
Gates added that "serious international tensions" could be avoided if there were rules "that let people know what kinds of acts are acceptable, what kinds of acts are not, and what kinds of acts may in fact be an act of war."
"There is no question that our defence systems are under attack all the time, fairly routinely in fact, and we’ve taken a number of steps to try and protect ourselves."
Fox announced that London will host an international conference on the "war of the invisible enemy" later this year. He added that the conference may lead to legal framework on cyber security.
"The effect on the economies of this region of a well-planned and well-resourced cyber attack on transnational commercial networks and institutions would be catastrophic, and would impact on us all," he said.
"Cyber attacks are already happening in large numbers and on a regular basis … which is why we want to convene a proper international conference to see how we can deal with it."
Meanwhile, US aerospace company Boeing Defence chief executive Dennis Muilenburg has revealed the company’s databases were under "continuous" cyber attack, but the databases are safe.
Gates told the forum, "I think all countries should see the cyber threat as a potential problem for them."
"I think that one of the things that would be beneficial would be for there to be a more open dialogue among countries about cyber (threats) and establishing some rules of the road."
Gates said this would lead to a "clearer understanding of the left and right lanes, if you will, so that somebody doesn’t inadvertently or intentionally begin something that escalates and gets out of control."