Event Reports

3rd Europe-Australia 1.5 track Cybersecurity Dialogue - Part 1

by Katja Theodorakis

'Covid-19 & the road to global cyber norms: The case of banning cyber operations against public health infrastructures'

This was the topic of the first discussion of our 3rd Europe-Australia cybersecurity dialogue which we have adapted to a ‘Virtual Discussion Series in Three Parts’, in collaboration with experts from the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV) in Berlin. Under the heading of ‘Cybersecurity in Crisis Times - A Way Forward for Europe and Australia’, the three sessions centred around multilateral and multi-stakeholder engagement and the potential for increasing cooperation as the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the attack surface for cyber operations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted not only the interconnectedness of the world but also the associated vulnerabilities. This requires us to look at how we manage global interdependence, particularly in the area of cyberspace, as a politically contested space shaped by hyper-connectivity and lack of overarching global governance. The topic for the entire dialogue/discussion series hence centres around multilateral and multi-stakeholder engagement and the potential for increasing cooperation as the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the attack surface for cyber operations.

 

THE SPEAKERS WERE

Johanna Weaver, Head of the Australian delegation to the UN Open-ended Working Group on cyber norms, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

Mr Wolfram von Heynitz, Head of the Cyber Policy Coordination Staff, German Federal Foreign Office

Mr Lukasz Olejnik, independent adviser and researcher

Mr Bart Hogeveen, Head of Cyber Capacity building, International Cyber Policy Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Alexandra Paulus, non-resident fellow for international cyber security policy (session chair) Stiftung Neue Verantwortung

Julia Schuetze, Project Manager "International Cyber Security Policy" Stiftung Neue Verantwortung

Following multiple cyber operations targeting public health infrastructures, various groups of states and non-state actors condemned such attacks and even advanced concrete proposals for establishing a norm banning cyber operations against public health infrastructures. This case study raises interesting questions and implications regarding the process of establishing global cyber norms at the United Nations and beyond.  For example, what steps would be necessary to make such a norm sufficiently robust?

The experts also discussed whose behavior can cyber norms shape (armed forces, private companies, intelligence agencies + state-sponsored actors, criminals & terrorists) as well as the  implications for norms to prevent cyber ops on hospitals

While this first discussion in the series focused on global cyber norms, subsequent sessions (one next week and one in September) will respectively be dedicated to joint responses to large-scale cyber incidents and AI governance.

Contact Person

Katja Theodorakis

Portrait, neu

Senior Programme Coordinator Research and Analysis
Foreign and Security Policy

katja.theodorakis@kas.de +61 2 6154 9325