Computer Crime Research Center


United States, Japan Must Cooperate on Cybersecurity

Date: December 02, 2004
Source: Embassy of the United States in Japan

The United States and Japan should intensify cooperative efforts to secure their information networks and work toward the creation of "a global culture of cyber security," according to Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr., assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs.

Bloomfield addressed the U.S.-Japan Critical Information Systems (CIP) Forum hosted by the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies in Washington on November 30.

Power grids, water systems, and telecommunications networks are all part of the "national critical infrastructure" and all depend on information networks, Bloomfield said. Even though government and commerce increasingly depend on such information networks, he added, "[E]very day brings another story of system vulnerabilities and criminal exploitations resulting in down time and economic losses."

"The simple fact is that what makes cyberspace unique and powerful and gives it great positive potential is its global reach," he said. "Of course, the very same quality makes it highly vulnerable to disruption. The threats are global and, inevitably, the solutions must be global."

"Weaponizing" information technology (IT) is relatively cheap and attacks can be carried out with "a reasonable expectation of impunity," according to Bloomfield. For this reason, the United States and Japan must join forces to protect their own and global information systems, he said.

The two countries' governments have made steps in this direction, Bloomfield pointed out. The first formal discussion of cybersecurity began in June 2002, and efforts continued with meetings in February 2004. "By now," Bloomfield said, "the key government entities responsible for protecting our infrastructure in the U.S. and Japan have developed working relationships so that we are able to assist one another with early warning and other essential forms of cooperation."

Each nation must take systematic, coordinated actions to protect its own networked information systems, Bloomfield said. Global efforts to secure information systems, he said, include not just governments but information technology developers, vendors, data managers, and telecom providers.

"It's not good enough simply to wait for networks to be disabled and to then manage the consequences," Bloomfield warned. "Risk reduction," he said, "means continuous information sharing, within and across industries, between government and industry, across borders and between governments" as well as active deterrence, such as working among law enforcement authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish those who attack information systems.

He urged nations across the globe "to adopt cybercrime policies and legislation that will prevent and deter criminal misuse of computers and computer networks, consistent with respect for the privacy and individual rights of users."

Bloomfield noted that important leadership roles are being played by multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Council of Europe, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Organization of American States, and the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations. The United Nations, he said, is also playing a role through the General Assembly and through World Summit on the Information Society.
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2004-12-03 09:33:49 - Hmmm..I wonder if Japan can catch up with... MoD
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