Nº 3 2012 > Cybersecurity
Odessa seminar explores the landscape
“Effectively countering cybercrime will be possible only with the involvement of all stakeholders — the scientific community, civil society and, of course, business.” says Peter Vorobiyenko, Rector of the A.S. Popov Odessa National Academy of Telecommunications (ONAT), Ukraine.
An invitation from the Ukraine State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection made it possible to put that thought into action. This involved a cross-regional seminar for the countries of Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and the Commonwealth of Independent States, held from 28 to 30 March 2012, on the subject of “Current methods for combating cybercrime”.
The event, held in Odessa, was organized by the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, together with the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT), and was hosted by the A.S. Popov Odessa National Academy of Telecommunications.
Strategic aspects of cybersecurity
Participants at the seminar recognized the importance of making the fight against cybercrime a priority for all countries. “Digital criminals are smart and well equipped. In the fight against cybercrime we always have to stay one step ahead. This seminar, organized by ITU and IMPACT together with the Academy of Telecommunications, is an attempt to do just that: to stay ahead of the game”, said Mr Vorobiyenko.
Focusing on the strategic aspects of cybersecurity and combating cybercrime, participants highlighted the need for pre-emptive measures at the national, regional and global levels, emphasizing the important role to be played by governments. Participants also recognized the importance of making greater headway in forming public-private partnerships to combat cybercrime.
Regulatory and technical approaches
Participants discussed regulation in the fight against cybercrime, noting the need to develop a legal framework as well as new technical and organizational mechanisms to combat cybercrime. To add to the regulatory and technical arsenal for combating cybercrime, the idea was raised of studying the socio-psychological aspects of cybersecurity.
Capacity building in the field of cybersecurity was seen as an important basis for making progress. This view led to agreement on the need to continue the practice of holding ITU seminars, forums and conferences devoted to combating cybercrime. Participants were also in favour of continuing the practice of producing manuals and recommendations in support of the fight against cybercrime.
Child online protection
Of particular concern to participants was the whole range of issues associated with child protection on the Internet. ITU has done important work in this area, and speakers suggested looking into the possibility of creating, under the auspices of ITU, a centre for the dissemination of lists of recommended and prohibited Internet resources for children. Similar lists could also be created for use in blocking spam.
International cooperation in the fight against cybercrime
Andrei Untila, Programme Officer of the ITU Area Office for the CIS, underlined the importance and the cross-regional nature of the seminar, stating that “the task of combating cybercrime cannot be taken on by one country or region alone. It is an issue that can be resolved only through the combined efforts of members of the international community”.
During a round-table discussion, participants highlighted the importance of international cooperation with a view to exchanging experience and enhancing methods for combating cybercrime.
Specialists from many countries described innovations and successful practices in countering cybercrime. Some 23 reports were presented by specialists from administrations, ITU, universities, research institutes, civic organizations and private companies.
Participants recognized the relevance and practical value of the reports for ministries and departments, regulators, law-enforcement agencies, telecommunication operators, banks, universities and other concerned entities. The importance of the work being done in each of ITU’s three Sectors to resolve issues in the fight against cybercrime was also highlighted by several speakers.
Participants from government and industry
Representatives from ITU Member States, the ITU secretariat (Telecommunication Development Bureau and ITU Area Office for the CIS) and IMPACT, as well as ITU experts attended the seminar. There were around 90 registered participants from 16 countries, representing more than 45 State organizations and private companies.
Odessa National Academy of Telecommunications
The chosen venue for the seminar was appropriate, because the world-renowned A.S. Popov Odessa National Academy of Telecommunications collaborates actively with ITU and is a member of the Development Sector. Since Ukraine’s independence, the academy’s specialists have made more than 250 contributions to ITU’s work on Ukraine’s behalf. Some of these contributions have been used in the preparation of Recommendations.
The academy recently celebrated its 90th anniversary. Over the course of its history, it has trained more than 90 000 specialists, who are now working in 98 countries throughout the world. The academy has created and maintains a system for limiting access to resources that promote violence or contain pornographic material or inappropriate language.
ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré holds a doctorate honoris causa from the academy and has visited this distinguished academic institution several times. In 2010, for example, Dr Touré formally opened the ITU International Support Centre within the academy. The centre aims to implement the Secretary-General’s child online protection initiative.
ITU’s role in building confidence and security
Since 2006, one of ITU’s fundamental roles has been to build confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies. At the World Summit on the Information Society, Heads of State and Government, other world leaders and ITU Member States instructed ITU to adopt practical measures aimed at limiting threats and vulnerabilities associated with the information society.
Under Resolution 130 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010) of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau was instructed to continue collaboration with relevant organizations with a view to exchanging experience and disseminating information, including through workshops. The Odessa seminar fulfilled that aim.