How to Increase Transparency and Improve Monitoring in the Digital Realm
6th part of our digital dicussion series "Cyberwarfare - Cyberpeacebuilding: On a Search for a Cooperative Security Architecture Cyberspace"
The cyberspace is increasingly marked by a digital arms race. The number of states that run active military cyber programs has grown in recent years. Cyber-attacks and digital disinformation campaigns have become more sophisticated and numerous. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerated digitalization in almost all areas of life, the destructive potentials of cyber conflicts seem to have grown even further.
The international rules-based order is clearly showing various signs of erosion and great power competition is on the rise. The cyberspace is not exempted from this global trend. However, taking the conclusion of two multi-annual UN experts forums on cyber security in Spring 2021 (the OWEG and the UNGEE) as an occasion – we would nevertheless like to brainstorm proposals on how to move closer to a more cooperative security architecture in cyberspace. By this virtual discussion series, we aim to explore the different dimensions of cyber conflicts and elaborate on ideas of how the digital realm could become more stable and secure with the help of international cooperation.
A working cooperative security architecture does require a certain level of transparency between the involved actors. An agreed transparency scheme decreases the level of mistrust and provides a fundament for taking joint actions against irresponsible behavior. In cyberspace, independent, reliable, and non-politicized monitoring and verification are widely lacking. What we witness instead is a relatively high degree of finger-pointing and naming-and-shaming. It is often said that the so-called attribution problem is the most important obstacle to transparency in the digital domain as it lowers substantially the chance to ascribe cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns to the responsible actors. Therefore, conventional monitoring and verification methods – such as on-site inspections, sensor installations, or areal images – that are used with regard to other military technologies and weapon categories are unlikely to operate properly in cyberspace. However, in recent years several ideas were floated and proposed how to increase transparency in the digital domain and to handle the attribution problem. The purpose of this session is to elaborate and evaluate these proposals and sketch out an outlook about the future development of the debate on cyber monitoring.
Erin D. DUMBACHER, Senior Program Officer, Scientific and Technical Affairs, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Washington D.C.
Serge DROZ, President of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), Senior Advisor of ICT4Peace, and Senior Security Engineer at ProtonMail, Zürich
Ivan KWIATKOWSKI, Senior Security Researcher at Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), Kaspersky, Paris
Jonathan William WELBURN, Operations Research at RAND and Professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School, Santa Monica [prel. confirmed]
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