US, Britain urge cooperation on cyber threats

Jun 04, 2011 by Philip Lim

The United States and Britain called Saturday for international cooperation against threats to cyber security following a fresh spate of attacks on government and corporate targets.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and British Defence Secretary Liam Fox underscored the urgency of the problem at an Asia-Pacific security forum in Singapore also attended by their Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie.

China denies being the source of attacks on US security systems and the two western officials deliberately avoided singling out Beijing.

Liang is scheduled to address the Singapore conference on Sunday.

Gates said "we take the very seriously and we see it from a variety of sources, not just one or another country."

Fox said London will host an international conference on the "war of the invisible enemy" later this year.

"The effect on the economies of this region of a well-planned and well-resourced cyber attack on transnational commercial networks and institutions would be catastrophic, and would impact on us all," he said.

"Cyber attacks are already happening in large numbers and on a regular basis ... which is why we want to convene a proper international conference to see how we can deal with it."

The London talks will include discussions on a potential legal framework, Fox said.

Just days before the Singapore forum, Internet giant said a cyber spying campaign originating in China had targeted Gmail accounts of senior US officials, military personnel, journalists and Chinese political activists.

China said Thursday it was "unacceptable" to blame it for the incidents.

Gates said "serious international tensions" could be avoided if there were rules "that let people know what kinds of acts are acceptable, what kinds of acts are not, and what kinds of acts may in fact be an act of war."

"There is no question that our defence systems are under attack all the time, fairly routinely in fact, and we've taken a number of steps to try and protect ourselves," he added.

On the sidelines of the conference, US aerospace giant Boeing said it was also under "continuous" but there had been no breach of its databases.

The admission by Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, comes as Japanese electronics giant Sony reels from a series of attacks on its networks.

"I think all countries should see the cyber threat as a potential problem for them," Gates said.

"I think that one of the things that would be beneficial would be for there to be a more open dialogue among countries about cyber (threats) and establishing some rules of the road," he said.

Gates said this would help achieve a "clearer understanding of the left and right lanes, if you will, so that somebody doesn't inadvertently or intentionally begin something that escalates and gets out of control."

Explore further: Belarus tightens control over online media

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyber raids 'threaten British, US stock markets'

Jan 31, 2011

Stock exchanges in Britain and the United States have enlisted the help of the security services after finding out they were the victims of cyber attacks, The Times newspaper reported on Monday.

US urges NATO to build 'cyber shield'

Sep 15, 2010

NATO must build a "cyber shield" to protect the transatlantic alliance from any Internet threats to its military and economic infrastructures, a top US defence official said Wednesday.

SKorea and US forge deal to fight cyber attacks

May 04, 2009

South Korea and the United States have agreed to cooperate in fighting cyber attacks against their defence networks from countries including China and North Korea, officials said Monday.

Recommended for you

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

Dec 15, 2014

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Microsoft builds support over Ireland email case

Dec 15, 2014

Microsoft said Monday it had secured broad support from a coalition of influential technology and media firms as it seeks to challenge a US ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

beefchop
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011
Interesting that the US is calling for this kind of action. It could come back to bite them, considering they are probably the primary source of international governmental hacking attacks. Stuxnet, anyone?
ab3a
not rated yet Jun 04, 2011
At the end of the day, malware like Stuxnet can not be addressed by any single nation, even the US. The next Stuxnet may not be written by a nation state. It may get written by radical political or religious parties of one sort or another.

The targets of a future Stuxnet could be the very infrastructure of the world's economy. This is no laughing matter.
reelWebDesign
not rated yet Jun 05, 2011
I agree this is no laughing matter, but unfortunately a large destructive attack is what it'll take before the world acts firmly and as one against these threats. Then the worst thing will come from this, extreme regulation, making the internet no different than any other method of communication... controlled by both the very wealthy and governments!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.