The world needs to sign up to a cyber peace treaty to head off the growing threats of infowar and cybercriminality, but industrialised countries are ignoring the risks, according to the secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
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Hamadoun Touré said "those who think they are best protected" had largely ignored his call for a cyberpeace treaty at the Davos conference earlier this year.
Touré said the world had entered a different era with the difficulties between Google and China. This, plus last year's attacks against Estonia and Georgia, showed how "fragile" the networked world was, he said.
Touré said the peace treaty contained four elements. Signatories would agree to
- put all its citizens into cyberspace as a first step
- protect them there
- not allow its infrastructure to be used to attack another country
- not to attack another country first.
"This would be the first peace treaty agreed before a war," he said.
Computer Weekly says...
Hamadoun Touré may have a more willing audience following the US's recent admission that the worst-ever attack on its military computer systems was sparked by the use of a malware-infected USB memory stick on a military laptop in a Middle Eastern country.
There is little doubt that the infowar is hotting up. Last year the UK government publicly admitted that it plans to recruit and train "white hat" hackers, and more recently, several countries have run national competitions to find suitable cybersoldiers.