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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cybersecurity, most challenging of our time – Toure

Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Touré, has declared that cyber security is one of the most important challenges at this time of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

“Cybersecurity is one of the most important challenges of our time,” he said.
Toure in his closing address to the 63rd session of ITU Council which ended last Friday in Geneva, said that the rapid growth of ICT networks has enabled opportunists to exploit online vulnerabilities and attack countries’ critical infrastructure.

“Spam is a constant and growing problem that threatens to stretch the capacity of the Internet to transport data to the fullest, while phishing and malware affect computer systems around the globe,” he said, noting that the costs associated with cyberthreats and cyber-attacks are real and significant - not only in terms of lost revenue, breaches of sensitive data, cyber-attacks and network outages but also in terms of lives ruined by identity theft, debts run up on plundered credit cards or the online exploitation of children.

“Our very trust in the online world is at stake - jeopardizing the future of the information society, which is in danger from these growing cyberthreats,” he asserted.

ITU, he said, has taken a leading role in promoting cybersecurity and trying to combat the growing tidal wave of cyberthreats.

He recalled that on the occasion of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2007, ITU launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA).

This, he explained, as a High-Level Experts Group (HLEG) that has spent the last year reviewing the issues and developing proposals for long-term strategies to promote cybersecurity, an achievement honoured with the award of the ITU Silver Medal to the Chair of the HLEG, Chief Judge Stein Schjolberg.

The GCA, he continued, is now moving into its operational phase and ITU is undertaking a vital partnership in conjunction with the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats (IMPACT) hosted by the Government of Malaysia, to put a global early warning system at the disposal of all member states.

Toure, also said that the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative is a vital project that will protect one of the most vulnerable groups online by providing valuable guidance on safe online behaviour, in conjunction with other United Nations (UN) agencies and partners.

Champion Infotel also gathered that the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon equally welcomed ITU’s COP initiative and urged all states to support it.
ITU member states stand united in their determination to combat the growing menace of cyber crime and the risks posed by new and emerging cyberthreats.


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