United Nations Security Council Tackles Threat of Cyberattacks
The UN Security Council Has Addressed the Subject in the Past, but Only Informally.
Last updated on July 1, 2021
The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday is determined to hold its first official public meeting with regard to cybersecurity, confronting the growing threat of hacks to countries’ critical infrastructure.
This issue has been recently raised by the president of the United States Joe Biden with his counterpart Vladimir Putin during their summit that took place last month in Geneva.
The US president set out red lines for Russia, which is frequently accused of being behind significant cyberattacks. In this case, he laid out 16 “untouchable” organizations, varying from the energy field to water distribution.
A European ambassador who specializes in cybersecurity stated:
This is the generic list of critical infrastructure which every country has.
In the United Nations first committee, we already have agreed in 2015, which is six years ago, that we are refraining from malicious cyber activities against each other’s critical infrastructures as UN member states.
Tuesday’s gathering, called by Estonia which was in the leading position on the Council in June and is a leader in the fight against hacking, is itself being held online, at a ministerial level.
According to SecurityWeek, the United Nations Security Council has addressed the subject in the past, but only informally, both in public or behind closed doors.
Another diplomat who requested to remain anonymous stated that the issue is recent and is difficult to bring anything new in the United Nations Security Council after more than 70 years of dealing with more conventional aspects of peace and protection.
Estonia said that the goal of the meeting is “to contribute to a better understanding of the growing risks stemming from malicious activities in cyberspace and their impact on international peace and security.”
Undersecretary-General for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu added that we find ourselves in a complicated situation that is not similar to other international security topics.
So it is not the usual arms control topic where you can sign a treaty and then just verify, you have to have a more innovative approach.
Multiple US organizations, including the computer group SolarWinds, the Colonial oil pipeline, and JBS Foods, the world’s largest meatpacking organization have recently been involved in ransomware attacks, where a program encrypts computer files and demands a ransom to decrypt them.
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