ITU calls for greater cybersecurity in the region

UN body discusses need for national and international co-ordination to handle cyber incidents

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By  Mark Sutton Published  February 24, 2008

The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called upon countries in the Middle East to adopt more robust cybersecurity policies, during its regional workshop held last week in Doha.

The workshop, which was attended by representatives of 18 countries from across the Arab world, addressed the need for global standards and co-ordination to safeguard against cyber crimes. The ITU has developed a Cybersecurity Framework, which it would like to see adopted as a comprehensive approach to security for nations.

The ITU Framework includes development of a national strategy for cybersecurity, establishing collaboration between government and the IT industry, measures to deter cybercrime, creation of national incident management capabilities and the promotion of a culture of cybersecurity.

Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau commented: "Global interconnectivity creates new interdependencies and risks that need to be managed at national, regional and international levels. The formulation and implementation by all nations of a national framework for cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection represents a significant first step in addressing the challenges arising from globally interconnected ICT infrastructures."

The workshop also included a review of the ITU National Cybersecurity Self-Assessment Toolkit, a set of tools that has been designed to help nations to assess their preparedness for cybersecurity incidents.

Formation of national computer security incident response teams (CSIRT), to provide a single national focus for cyber incident management was also discussed.

The event was held in association with ictQATAR and the Qatar Centre for Information Security (Q-CERT).

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