Global Cyber War Could Be 'Worse Than a Tsunami'

Image: Juan Fuertes

International cyberwar would be “worse than a tsunami” and should be avoided by a global cybersecurity peace treaty, said the head of the International Telecommunications Union Hamadoun Touré.

Touré, who serves as secretary-general of the U.N. agency, has targeted cybersecurity issues in his electoral pledges. Speaking in London yesterday, he said he had proposed such a treaty this year, but it had met “a lot of resistance” from industrialized nations, ZDNet UK reports.

The secretary-general said his dream is to have a cyber-peace treaty, something “some people think it’s a sin,” he said.

“People who think they are secure don’t want anyone else to talk about it,” Touré added. I say there is no [online] superpower. We need to avoid a cyberwar starting. After the cases of Estonia and Georgia, you need to realize how fragile the world is becoming. A cyberwar will be worse than a tsunami — we have to avoid it.”

Touré did not name specific countries, but hinted that “industrialized countries think they are more protected.” He pointed out that cyberspace was borderless and criminals can use any territory to commit crimes.

Although the idea of a cyber peace treaty is ideal, Touré said he would settle for a “common code of conduct against cyber crime” in which each country would commit to ensuring its citizens can get connected to the Internet, rather than denying them access. The code would also call on nations to safeguard citizens against criminals and include a pledge to not harbor terrorists or criminals. It would also require countries to commit to not attacking another country first.

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