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RIGF 2018: we can deal with cyberthreats only by joining forces

The program of the Ninth Russian Internet Governance Forum consists almost entirely of cybersecurity related topics. The fact that today cyberthreats affect not only virtual but also physical world is almost universally understood. The list of RIGF 2018 speakers clearly shows that the topic of information security is a concern of all: representatives of the state, business, tech community, academia and civil society from different countries expressed their point of view on the problem. On four sections of the Forum participants discussed information security from different sides choosing the most important problems: fake news, international cooperation in the field of cybersecurity, emergencies in cyberspace, advantages and dangers of artificial intelligence.

The Forum discussions started with “Fake News: Fake’n’Hype”. Moderator of the session Karen Kazaryan (RAEC) invited representatives of the leading mass media, researchers of information culture and experts in information policy – Roberto Gaetano (Public Internet Registry), Ivan Zassoursky (MSU), Vladimir Zykov (Association of Professional Users of Social Networks and Messengers), Bruce McConnell (East-West Institute), Vladimir Todorov ( Discussion participants joined by the audience noted that fake news is a big problem for the entire society, it’s a symptom of extreme politicization of people, their stratification by convictions as well as deterioration of the educational system. Responsibility for the development of fake news as an industry lies on both mass media and social networks. “Today, it’s private companies and not governments who got the right to decide which news are genuine and which are not, even though they don’t even nominally represent citizens’ interests”, pointed out Bruce McConnell. Experts came to the conclusion that it’s possible to change the situation only through joint efforts in finding a solution to existing problems – for example, public and educational institutions could teach people together how to distinguish fake news from real ones and fight them.

Moderator of the session “Cybersecurity: together or apart” Leonid Todorov (APTLD) had a lively discussion with foreign experts that represented the largest international organizations dealing with Internet issues – RIPE NCC, ITU, ISOC, ICANN and others. Chris Buckridge (RIPE NCC), Wolfgang Kleinwaechter (University of Aarhus), Farid Nakhli (ITU), Maarit Palovirta (ISOC), Jonne Soninen (ICANN), Li Yan (CUCIR) discussed modern views on cybersecurity. “There is one world and one Internet, the task of providing security is supranational; however, the majority of governments consider cyberspace to be a place to project their interests. In addition, these days it’s cheaper to attack online rather than protect yourself, which makes aggressive policy very lucrative for those who transfer existing conflicts online”, said Wolfgang Kleinwaechter. Experts agreed that all existing social and technogenic conflicts were represented online and the development of a single international document to provide collective security on the Internet would require a balance of interests of all participants.

During the “In case of emergency” session experts talked about the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and why they are needed. The moderator Mikhail Anisimov (Coordination Center For TLD .RU/.РФ) proposed to the participants – experts in the field of cybersecurity and CERT representatives from Russia, Asian and European countries – to discuss whether specialized CERTs are needed and what role does the state play in their creation and development. Alexey Lukatsky (Cisco), Bruce McConnell (East-West Institute), Hong Thang Nguyen (VNNIC), Alexey Novikov (Positive Technologies), Martin Peterka (CERT CZ), Shavkat Sabirov (Internet Association of Kazakhstan) shared how Computer Emergency Response Teams function in their countries and cooperate with each other. “The main role of CERT is to provide international cooperation when responding to attacks. However, so far this practice has been very weak due to geopolitical problems”, said Alexey Lukatsky and all other speakers agreed with him.

The final session of the Forum “On the eve of Skynet” concerned artificial intelligence. Andrey Ivanov (Microsoft), Dmitry Zaitsev (MSU) and Anton Fishman (Group-IB) answered questions of the session moderator Alexey Lukatsky (Cisco) and shared their view of how artificial intelligence would develop and how elements of artificial intelligence would be used to detect cyberthreats and react to them. All participants pointed out that for now the artificial intelligence technologies are not panacea in the fight against cyberthreats, since a big number of threats are directed at peculiarities of human behavior and not technical vulnerabilities. However, artificial intelligence significantly simplifies and accelerates the process of cyberthreats’ detection and reaction to them, if it’s used as an auxiliary tool.

At this RIGF 2018 has closed.

In 2019, 10th anniversary Russian Internet Governance Forum will be held. See you at RIGF 2019!