The First International Cybersecurity Summit kicks off today in Dallas, Texas, hosted by the EastWest Institute. The goal of the summit is to advance an international dialogue on cybersecurity issues, particularly in the realm of cyber crime.
The summit features speakers such as Howard Schmidt, the current White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, and Melissa Hathaway, former Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the U.S. National Security and Homeland Security Councils. The event is expected to draw a number of leaders in the public and private sectors throughout the globe, including from the EU, China, India, Japan and Canada.
While the summit is a good start, there are still many challenges to developing coherent international frameworks for actions in cyberspace, particularly as cyber capabilities tend to be a closely guarded secret by nation-states.
“You just don’t pick up the phone and call your counterparts in these countries,” say Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Cyber Innovation. “They’re always guarded in those areas, and they’re always wondering if there’s some other motive.”
Unlike most security conferences, this summit is about forging dialogue and possibly partnerships, rather than showing off the latest tricks or gadgets.
“It’s reaching across the table,” says Raduege. “It’s not official U.S. policy that’s going to be put out there, but it’s an opportunity to exchange ideas of the possible.”
Around 400 officials from industry and government from over 30 countries are expected to attend the summit this week.
“I think it’s going to be a first step,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee. “Right now we have situations where many countries are speaking past each other. The Google attacks are a great example of that. That’s just not productive or helpful to any country, and I think having a frank and open conversation between all parties is critical.”