ASEAN Nations Agree to Expand Regional Cybersecurity Cooperation

    Nov 08, 2016

    At the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity on October 11, ministers from all 10 member nations agreed on proposals announced by Singapore’s Minister-in-Charge of Cybersecurity calling for closer cybersecurity cooperation. The proposals include stronger coordination of regional cybersecurity capacity-building initiatives and more direct discussions about specific cybersecurity issues at the ministerial and senior official levels.

    “The cyber-enabled theft of millions of dollars from Bangladesh’s central bank, the recent distributed denial-of-service attacks that led to widespread outages of popular websites in the United States and abroad, and other headline-grabbing cyber incidents have awakened many to the range of cyber threats facing the international community,” said Christopher Painter, the U.S. Department of State's Coordinator for Cyber Issues, who attended the conference and wrote about his experience in a blog post. “Despite our best individual efforts, rapid developments in cyberspace make it difficult to predict and prevent every determined and well-resourced bad actor. Therefore it is vital that we respond to these mounting threats with increased cooperation.”

    “International law enforcement is one area where close cooperation is needed,” stated Singapore’s Minister-in-Charge of Cybersecurity, Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim. He called on member countries to actively support the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), which he said helps to share research and development and operational responses against transnational threats. This includes sending more ASEAN law enforcement officers to the IGCI and partnering with INTERPOL “to conduct more joint operations against cybercriminals and enhance the collective safety and security in ASEAN.”

    To foster cybersecurity capacity building, Ibrahim announced the launch of a $10 million ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program in an effort to fund resources, expertise, and training to help nations build up their infrastructure to counter cyber threats. Mechanisms expected to be funded by the program include workshops, seminars and conferences, and other efforts aimed at coordinating legislation and other legal strategies.

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