infoTECH Feature

September 28, 2011

IMPACT Appointed the UN's Cybersecurity Executing Arm by UN Specialized Agency-ITU

Under a landmark agreement between the United Nations’ (UN) specialized agency for information and communication technologies, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT), the later has been appointed the United Nation’s cybersecurity executing arm.

Under the agreement that was signed during the World Summit for Information Society 2011 (WSIS) Forum in Geneva last May, IMPACT has been assigned by ITU with the responsibility of providing cybersecurity assistance and support to ITU’s 193 Member States and also to other organizations within the UN system.

The Memorandum of Agreement was officially signed by ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré and Datuk Mohd Noor Amin, Chairman of IMPACT at the ITU’s head office in Geneva. The key players from the industry and the leading names in academia have given their univocal support to this ITU-IMPACT joint initiative, the UN officials disclosed in a press release.

Key partners include Microsoft, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab (News - Alert), Trend Micro, F-Secure, SANS Institute, (ISC)2, EC-Council as well as renowned universities worldwide. The UN officials revealed that some of these partners have been working closely with IMPACT on key initiatives, including the establishment of its Network Early Warning System (NEWS) - a real-time, aggregated early warning system to partner countries.

At the WSIS Forum 2011, Dr. Touré informed that 130 countries have already consented to be part of the ITU-IMPACT’s fast-growing global partnership. More countries are expected to join the club soon, Dr. Touré informed. With the expansion in the member-list, ITU-IMPACT is expected to become the largest global cybersecurity alliance of its kind.

Back in 2008, IMPACT was chosen as the physical home of ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), which was created to provide international cybersecurity framework that was formulated following deliberations by more than 100 leading experts worldwide. Through a Memorandum of Understanding inked back in 2008, ITU made IMPACT the physical home of the GCA and had tasked IMPACT with the responsibility to operationalize the various initiatives under the GCA.

IMPACT’s global hub is located in Cyberjaya, Malaysia and is staffed by a diverse and multi-disciplinary international workforce. IMPACT has been designed to serve as a politically-neutral platform to bring together governments, industry and the academia to enhance the global community’s capabilities in dealing with cyber threats. IMPACT facilitates the pooling of resources, expertise, technology and knowledge across governments, industry and academia to significantly enhance the world’s ability to defend against and respond to cyber threats.

Partner countries of ITU-IMPACT are also given access to a host of specialized services including monitoring, analysis and alerts on cyber threats. Through collaboration with industry and academia, IMPACT’s Global Response Centre (GRC) hosts one of the world's most comprehensive databases on cyber threats. IMPACT’s Electronically Secure Collaborative Application Platform for Experts (ESCAPE) enables real-time collaboration between experts and empowered officials around the globe. ESCAPE also provides countries with cyber crisis management tools and coordination support services

Through the other three centers--Centre for Policy & International Cooperation, Centre for Training & Skills Development and Centre for Security Assurance & Research--- IMPACT provides consulting and training services, scholarships, reports and expertise to governments, industry and academia in partner countries.

Under the initiative of Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a four-day meeting aimed to address cross-border challenges facing Internet governance officially kicked off in Nairobi on Tuesday. The event reportedly brought together over 1,500 telecommunication experts from across the world, who will also discuss how and by whom the Internet is governed.

'”The main issues of focus include cyber crime and cyber security, mobile internet, innovation, freedom of expression online, privacy, intellectual property rights among others, and how these issues impact people’s daily lives,” Kenya's Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo explained in a statement.

Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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