The Need for Stronger International Cybersecurity

While governments are becoming better at countering cybersecurity threats both nationally and internationally, Christopher Painter, the former cyber coordinator for the US State Department, said the key to strong cyber defenses are nations working together to counter threats.

He made these remarks earlier this month at Black Hat Europe.

Since cyber attacks are frequently bigger than one country, countries need to deal collectively with the threats they have in common, he said.

The current rules governing cybersecurity are “worthless if there’s no action taken if people violate them,” he said, adding that lack of punishment establishes a norm that an activity is acceptable.

As part of this, Painter also called for more efficient attribution, which is necessary to take action on cybercrime. “We have to get to attribution quicker, so we can take action quicker, so we can have a deterring effect,” he said. Attribution is “a political issue,” he pointed out, and governments can’t punish a threat actor unless they are sure he/she is responsible.

International security will only come with international acceptance of rules, Painter said: “We can’t have progress if only a few countries agree.”

The 3rd Annual Billington International Cybersecurity Summit, March 21, Washington, DC, will examine global cyber policy and internatinal cooperation.  See the list at right of already confirmed speakers.