As technology evolves, so do the techniques of criminals. Awareness and prevention are fundamental for addressing cybercrime.
Dear Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start with expressing my sincere appreciation for being here among you all today, as the UN Resident Coordinator to Montenegro I am delighted to have the chance address you all on this important topic regarding Cyber Security, and the key role the UN system is playing both here in the country and globally to further enhance cyber security.
As we all acknowledge the rapid technological developments and living in a world with unprecedented access to knowledge and information, in a highly digitalized world through increased use of ICTs, we also witnessing a growing dependency on communications technologies which makes our societies vulnerable, due to exposure we are increasingly phasing several new threats and challenges, including those of a disruptive and destructive nature.
Digital technology underpins three main pillars of the UN’s work— international peace and security, human rights and development—and constitutes both a strength but also a challenge deserving the attention of the whole UN system and by member states.
As dependence on ICTs increase, responsible behaviour of States in the use of ICTs has become of vital importance to the maintenance of international peace and security. Over the last decades, the destructive use of ICTs has dramatically increased in both scale, scope, and severity by a wide range of actors including criminal groups, terrorists, hacktivist organizations, individuals and even States. These malicious activities—ranging from widespread distribution of denial-of-service incidents to the proliferation of destructive malware—which can pose a significant risk to international security and stability, economic and social development, as well as the safety and the well-being of individuals.
Of specific concern is malicious ICT activity affecting critical infrastructure — such as infrastructure providing essential services to the public. As we can all recall, Montenegro recently experienced such a stress-test. Not long ago, the Secretary-General drawn specific attention to cyberattacks on healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on the international community to do more to prevent and these activities causing further harm to civilians.
Through the General Assembly, States have made important progress in elaborating a normative framework to ensure a more responsible behaviour in cyberspace. This has included affirmation of the applicability of international law to the use of ICTs by States. States have also committed to cooperate in developing and applying measures to increase stability and security in the use of ICTs, thus preventing conflict arising from their misuse. Nonetheless, more must be done to advance and implement the normative framework within this field.
On this path, our UN team in Montenegro stands as reliable partner to the Government, supporting it in developing the Cyber Security Programme, in order to help the country, strengthen its information security system and its resilience to withstand cyber threats. Our efforts in this regard include different kinds of support from sister agencies, including the development of long-term systemic interventions with the help of UNOPS which will bring its experience from the region to support the Government in developing the Cyber Security Framework Programme, in order to strengthen the cyber security ecosystem in Montenegro; Also, through the ongoing work on digitalization, UNDP supports Ministry of Public Administration in response to the recent cyber-attacks. In addition, UNDP has also provided valuable sources of data through the last year’s Human Development Report, which can be critical in planning and policy making.
But the UN’s work on addressing this important challenge goes beyond providing support on the national level. Across the globe, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) leads and coordinates an all-of-UN approach to prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism, helping member states with the necessary policy support, providing in-depth knowledge and technical assistance as well as support in adapting to meet these challenging situations.
As technology evolves, so do the techniques of criminals. Awareness and prevention are fundamental for addressing cybercrime. Governments, institutions, the private sector, as well as individuals must learn how to be safe and protect themselves. There’s simply no other alternative.