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By Brian Robinson

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Cybergeddon: Information security as a global concern

We all know the digital infrastructure is global, of course, but it still tends to be cast in a local perspective. The U.S. gets hit and we’re all bothered, but who really cares about Estonia or anyone else?

The EastWest Institute is hosting an event next month, timidly titled The First Worldwide Security Summit, which looks to be trying to get its hands around that very question. Its equally low profile aim is to “determine new measures to ensure the security of the world’s digital infrastructure.”

Hyperbole apart, this event actually seems to be trying to bring together some experts of real note, who should have something to say on the subject. The U.S. National Security Adviser, James Jones, will be taking part, as will Howard Schmidt, the U.S Cybersecurity Coordinator. There are others from past administrations, as well as foreign officials and heads of big companies.

Whether or not this gathering will actually be able to come up with any concrete proposals -- and the first thing I’d like to see is a definition of “the world’s digital infrastructure” -- there’s no doubt that international agreements will be needed at some stage.

That’s because the international threats are accelerating. The U.S. government and some of its contractors were hit early this year as part of a broad attack reported by Google, and which supposedly originated in China. Now comes news of cyber espionage networks targeting the United Nations, embassies and others.

There are some attempts underway to broaden the international outlook. The Brits, for example, are proposing ways to protect against cyber attacks both in the U.K. and in Europe.

However, so far there’s been no obvious concerted effort to bring the international community together to work up agreements on how to tackle the global threats. As we start to hear in more apocalyptic terms about the approaching Cybergeddon, you’d think things like the EWI summit and more heavyweight meetings would already be commonplace.

Posted by Brian Robinson on Apr 06, 2010 at 9:03 AM


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