TEL AVIV – Security vendors and industries in a number of countries work collaboratively to fight cyber attacks. Now the Prime Minster of Israel has called on nations to band together to improve cyber security around the world.
“I believe by working together we can more effectively defend against the forces of cyber terror that threaten us now,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the opening of the annual Cyber Tech conference here on Wednesday.
“What you see today is going to get a lot worse in the future unless we band together. That’s why I intend to raise the subject of co-operation in cyber security in my upcoming visit to Washington with President Trump. It is critical we augment with what we are doing alone with co-operation, both on the government to government level and what we can do with our cyber security industries.”
He didn’t give details on how such co-operation would work or what threat data would be shared, admitting that “it’s not possible yet to have broad co-operation for cyber security with many governments, but it is important to have some co-operation with some governments, especially like-minded governments. There’s a core interest of civilized and democratic countries to protect themselves and their citizens against cyber attacks. The more we work together the safer and stronger we will become. It is my ardent hope countries of the world will come together.”
In a briefing Tuesday for international reporters Iddo Doed, cyber co-ordinator for Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs who is responsible for the file, said “we are very far” from an international agreement. But, he added, from preliminary talks “states want to co-operate and create global co-operation in cyber.” His job is to try to forge bilateral or multi-lateral co-operation. It wasn’t clear whether this would involve formal agreements.
At another session a government official was asked if there could be a Geneva convention on cyber. “If they can do it, it’s good,” he replied, “but I’m not sure it can be done.” Similarly, an official said a ‘cyber Interpol’ would be a good idea, but hard to create.
Doed did say one of the obstacles is it might involve sharing sensitive information. “The main issue for us in terms of cyber co-operation is to create a network of countries working together to mitigate the rise in attacks,” he said, through a multi-stakeholder model.
“For many countries, sharing information is also about sharing very sensitive data and there are a lot of conflicting interests, and this is one of the obstacles. If you talk about a multi-stakeholder model you talk about connecting governments, industry, there’s NGOs (non-government organizations) and non-state players and you realize all have an interest in cyber security, but there are a lot of conflicts as well and you have to take those into consideration.”
In 2015 a number of nations set up the Global Force for Cyber Expertise to share knowledge, he noted, but not threat data.
But, he said, “there is no cyber security without international co-operation.”