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Cyber Terrorism Is a Real Threat, and for the First Time Both Russia and the US Acknowledge It

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Internet security giant Kaspersky Lab said last week, as reported by ITWeb, that “terrorists could build a botnet that could bring down the entire Internet structure”. Mr. Kaspersky ended his speech with the statement that “a global cyber police force, and global cooperation between law enforcement agencies and governments is needed”.

This goes very much in accordance with some of the conclusions in the Cyberspace Policy Review, prepared by the White House, where a whole chapter is dedicated to international cooperation. We must also remember that on July 16, 2008, in West Lafayette, IN, Senator Obama said, that if elected as President, he “will make cyber security the top priority that it should be in the 21st century. He promised to “declare our cyber-infrastructure a strategic asset, and appoint a National Cyber Advisor who will report directly” to him.

While many today argue that the “cyber tzar” is still not appointed, and that’s bad for the country, let’s see what actually happened in the last few months on the cybersecurity front. The State Department, DHS, FBI, Secret Service and all other relevant agencies have actually started working on enhancing international cooperation, without waiting for the Cyber Tzar to be appointed. And that’s how it should be done.

Thanks to the efforts of the State Department and other US agencies and foreign governments, the last few months show several achievements, which were unthinkable just a year ago. Here are three examples just from the November alone:

1) The US proposed a UN-resolution, which was officially introduced to the UN General Assembly on November 25 in the Second committee. It is titled “Creation of a global culture of cybersecurity and taking stock of national efforts to protect critical information infrastructures”. And this time Russia, among others, has participated in the discussion, and has agreed with the text, a sign that the new US foreign policy of inclusion is better than the old one.

2) On November 23, Russia joined the Governmental Advisory Committee to ICANN, the Internet domain name and IP address body, based in California.

3) And in mid-November Russia sent a high-level experts delegation in Washington to talk on cybersecurity, and the way to continue the cooperation in that area.

Mr. Kaspersky believes that it will take 50 years to overcome the cyber criminals, and only if all countries act together.

My hope is it will be much less, if the US and Russia, and others, start acting together immediately. The next countries to be immediately included in this international cooperation effort should be China, Brazil, the Baltic republics, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the Balkans—where many cybercriminals are situated.

The US must support the creation of regional cybersecurity cooperation centers, where law-enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, and national IT-experts could be trained how to combat cybercrime, how to change their national laws, and build their own cybersecurity strategies. And if you wonder why the US must do that, when there are so many problems at home, don’t forget that the criminals are overseas, but the crimes take place on US soil. The botnet Mr. Kaspersky was talking about would cause more damages to the US than to any of the other countries. Last, but not least, the US has most of the experts in the area of cybersecurity, and can provide expertise, lecturers, books and training material without any hesitation. One of the aspects of being a leader is, that you, really, have to lead. And there will be hardly any better time than today to show leadership.

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