Bridging trust and international cooperation to counter cybersecurity threats

Dr. Jassim Haji
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These days cybersecurity is developing faster than ever before, particularly following the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has led to an increased reliance on remote work and education using multiple digital platforms and social media channels. This in turn spurred internet usage and network operations to double in many countries.

Unfortunately, the cyber threats in this area are also evolving—both in size and complexity—every year. This is evident in reports suggesting that more than half of the new security vulnerabilities during the past two decades, which total up to 160,000 security breaches, have occurred in the past five years alone.

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Technology companies must therefore combine their efforts to improve cybersecurity assurance, earning the trust of their users and customers. To do that, transparency is one of the most important pillars of modern cybersecurity. It must be a fundamental value for all technology companies today.

This realization does, of course, beg the question: "How do we build this transparency in a digital society?" Many elements must be taken into consideration.

Today, true cybersecurity requires consideration in every step of a product development’s lifecycle. Companies need to create policies and procedures that safeguards transparency starting from concept stage to the final steps of removing a product from the market.

Transparency is a practice not a theory. It requires identifying and mitigating potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities even in existing operations. Organizations must be proactive in investing to find these vulnerabilities, and this can include issuing funding grants that can encourage fresh ideas and talent becoming involved in the industry.

Finding, preventing, and disclosing vulnerabilities in a collaborative manner ultimately goes a long way in obtaining customer confidence while building a culture of transparency.

Cooperation between professionals in the field, and other organizations and academic institutions, is vital, particularly so in matters of policy setting, standards, and scientific research.

This picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows a computer screen at the National engineering elite school of Bretagne-Sud cybersecurity center in Vannes, western France. (File photo: AFP)
This picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows a computer screen at the National engineering elite school of Bretagne-Sud cybersecurity center in Vannes, western France. (File photo: AFP)

This in turn establishes a common understanding of cybersecurity. Many of the biggest technology companies are, for example, now using hypervisors as well as other software and cloud-based services to develop more precise engineering solutions that support system visualization. This can greatly benefit the global technology ecosystem.

But, this responsibility cannot be limited to a single company or country. Rather, it’s a collective burden shared by many parties, including manufacturers, telecom operators, regulatory authorities, and local and international organizations responsible for legislation and establishing standards that need to be adopted.

There is no doubt that building a digital economy requires strengthening the level of transparency so that, together, we build trust and enhance knowledge exchange. All parties must play a role in ensuring that digital sovereignty, user privacy, and security are mutually respected, allowing data to flow across borders in an orderly and secure manner.

Applying these principles to build transparency in cybersecurity, one recent example can be seen in Chinese technology company Huawei. It recently announced the opening of a Global Cyber Security and Privacy Protection Transparency Center in Dongguan.

The center will serve as a platform for communication, co-creation, and innovation based on cooperation with all stakeholders around the world. It will also serve as a platform for testing, evaluating, and verifying technical aspects for any party that wishes to do so from governments and customers.

Opening such a center is a significant step towards further transparency in cybersecurity. It contributes to bridging trust and international cooperation. That in turn will help society to overcome the challenges and future requirements of information security.

In the end, social and economic development in our countries and internationally hinges on modern technologies with mutual international standards. The global cybersecurity ecosystem must not lose the participation of any member who can contribute to developing these solutions for our future. With the increasing interdependence of global economies, all parties must show transparency when dealing with the issue of cybersecurity, and make more efforts to place appropriate regulations that meet the needs of all nations.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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