|SCO responds to cyber challenges|
Problems of information interaction and information security were discussed at the 7th international InfoForum Eurasia that was held in Moscow. The annual event was attended by delegations from the CIS countries, representatives of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It was organized by the State Duma’s security committee, the staff of the Russian Security Council, the Russian Communications and Mass Media Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the non-profit partnership InfoForum with support from over 20 federal ministries and agencies.
The forum was held for the 7th time, the number of its participants growing every year. This time, the Russian capital welcomed about 1,000 experts from 15 countries, including leading experts on defense, information technology and cyber security, employees of telecommunication companies and web portals, the military, Russian government officials and representatives of special services.
One of the forum’s main sessions was devoted to the 10th anniversary of the SCO. Its participants paid special attention to the relevant goals and tasks of developing information support to the SCO’s activities and to expanding cooperation between its member states in counteracting cyber threats, which pursue criminal, terrorist and military-political purposes.
Speaking at the meeting, Andrei Krutskikh, deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for new threats and challenges, recalled that information security was fully in line with the SCO’s anti-terrorist concept and was one of the organization’s main goals.
Terrorism adjusts fast to information globalization and the important task of the international community is to find an adequate response to new challenges. The understanding of this danger makes the leaders of SCO member states to get mobilized in counteracting cyber terrorism, to hold bilateral and multilateral talks, including at the top level. As a result, at the summit in Yekaterinburg in 2009, they signed an agreement on interaction in the sphere of information security.
Krutskikh told the audience that the agreement had already been ratified by four of the SCO members and it came into force on June 2, 2011. “So the SCO has been a pioneer in this sphere. Other countries should follow suit. All the more so, as the agreement is open for other parties to join. It has every chance of going beyond the SCO borders. Notably, a similar document has recently been signed between Russia and Brazil.”
The problem of threats in the IT sphere is one of the most serious in today’s world that is undergoing globalization, it was said at the meeting. New powerful tools are emerging today that can result in unprecedented destruction, disrupt the work of the manufacturing and economic sectors, social infrastructure and state administration and threaten lives of millions of people.
Being definitely a benefit for the humankind, the Internet has a huge destructive potential at the same time. This includes both psychological wars and its use for propaganda of extremism, racism and xenophobia and also for purely criminal purposes – such as hacking the electronic networks of banks and government websites. Today, international terrorist organizations use the worldwide web to assert themselves.
Participants of the event shared their views of these problems and potential ways to unite the global community in front of information threats. They were: Sergei Kanavsky, executive secretary of the SCO Business Council and president of the SCO Business Club; Denis Tyurin, CEO of the InfoSHOS web portal; Gennady Perekopsky, secretary of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly’s permanent committee for defense and security; Mikhail Kuznetsov, head of the Russian Union for Science Towns’ Development; and others.
At the forum, experts pointed to the need to educate the population with regard to issues of protection against all kinds of cyber fraud and to train personnel for the computer security sector, alongside drafting international legislation to regulate the information sphere.
The forum also raised such issues as relevant aspects of international information security and information cooperation between Eurasian countries; programs for development of information society, strategies of state support to national infrastructure and international cooperation; issues of trans-border personal data transfers; international cooperation to counteract IT crime; and problems of information security and information interaction when holding the APEC 2012 summit.
All participants agreed that fight against terrorism in general and cyber terrorism in particular is doomed to fail without broad international cooperation and support from the public, political and business communities and mass media.