Global Action against Global Cyber Threats


Seats were tough to find at the first day of the Eastwest Institute’s Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in London, where more than 450 government, industry and technical leaders from 43 countries gathered to craft new solutions for threats facing our digital world.  Speakers called for cooperation between businesses, between governments, and across sectors.

“We need to be more open about discussing the threats and the issues around cybersecurity,” said Sir Michael Rake, Chairman, BT Group plc., in a keynote address.  “I think that it’s an area that will require huge investment and government-business cooperation.”

While speakers on the business panels pointed to a few examples of collaboration including an industry-government working group set up under British Prime Minister David Cameron to tackle cyber crime, they portrayed cooperation and information-sharing between competitors as all too rare.

“Companies actually underestimate the threats and quite often they don’t know what the real threats are,” said Natalya Kaspersky of leading anti-virus software provider Kaspersky Lab. “Even when they do, they tend to hide these facts.”

Other participants also pointed out that, to protect their reputations, companies often underreport the damage inflicted by cyber attacks.

“As our dependency on cyberspace grows, so does our need to be able to share information and act as a more united force against the cyber threat,” said Martin Sutherland, Managing Director of BAE Systems Detica, who estimated that cyber crime costs the private sector in the U.K. alone 21 billion pounds a year.

Shawn Henry of the FBI cast a positive light on recent international efforts to fight cyber crime, saying that the FBI arrested over 200 cyber criminals in 2010.  He explained, “Our ability to partner with many different countries allowed us to not only identify those actors but extradite them and bring them to justice.”

“No single country can deal with cross border issues such as hacking, viruses, or spam,” said Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. “China stands for extensive international cooperation.”

The summit becomes interactive this afternoon, as participants gather in smaller breakthrough groups to discuss cooperative solutions for everything from securing the undersea cables that carry over 97% of internet traffic to ensuring emergency cooperation after disasters.

One breakthrough group will continue discussions between Chinese and U.S. experts on regulating spam – an ongoing bilateral process that has produced a major report, Fighting Spam to Build Trust.

In his opening remarks, EWI President John E. Mroz said that building trust is the key to cooperation – the kind of cooperation the produces concrete solutions.

“As we make progress in these relationships, we should face up to the fact that at both the national and international levels, there is a worrisome trust deficit between us—that is across professional disciplines—business, technology, law enforcement and policy,” said Mroz. “We have to address that.”

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We are tweeting about the summit under #cybersummit