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United front needed to face global challenges related to cybersecurity

By Zhou Lanxu | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-22 14:06
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Participants listen to a speaker at the Cybersecurity Forum for Technology Development and International Cooperation during the sixth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, East China's Zhejiang province, on Oct 21, 2019. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Industry experts urged countries around the world to make a greater concerted effort to tackle the global challenge of safeguarding cybersecurity on Monday, and called for more technological cooperation and improved international norms for governing cyberspace.

"At present, cyberspace security risks have been accelerating on the back of new technologies and new applications," said Sheng Ronghua, vice-minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Information leaks, data abuse, infringement of privacy and intellectual property, and other cybersecurity problems have become more serious, while cyberattacks and cyberterrorism have become a common hazard to the global community, according to Sheng.

"Cybersecurity is a global challenge. No country can avoid it," Sheng told a sub-forum of the sixth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, on Monday.

He called on countries to enhance consensus, promote cooperation to facilitate innovation in cybersecurity technology, and jointly develop norms and rules for more effective cyberspace governance.

Guy Diedrich, global innovation officer for Cisco, said at the forum that "cybersecurity is a team sport" and urged global cybersecurity vendors to increase the compatibility of their products to tackle rising security risks ahead of an expected surge in the things connected to the internet.

"In an unsecure world, every new connection is a new threat. In a secure world, every new connection is a new opportunity," Diedrich said.

International cooperation on cybersecurity is necessary as cross-border cyberattacks keep cropping up and are too complex for a single country to tackle, said an official at the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team.

The CNCERT has forged partnerships with 259 organizations from 78 countries and regions, and has actively engaged in bilateral and multilateral cybersecurity-cooperation projects in recent years, such as joining hands with Microsoft to eliminate five destructive botnets, he said.

Yet, "our efforts are far from enough", as new technologies keep emerging, he said, citing that the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, which hit around 150 countries, including China, and highlighted the weak links in the global cybersecurity network.

He suggested creating a coordinated alert mechanism for large threats and further international communication in cybersecurity technology, adding that cross-border information-sharing on cybersecurity currently lacks unified norms.

Bruce McConnell, executive vice-president of the EastWest Institute based in the United States, said international norms and agreements between countries that promise not to attack each other in cyberspace, especially on critical infrastructure, should be advanced.

Such State-level efforts, however, are being held up by geopolitical tensions across the globe, McConnell told China Daily on the sidelines of the forum.

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