• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Telecom chief warns in Geneva of 'cyberwar'

Malcolm Curtis · 16 Jul 2013, 09:20

Published: 16 Jul 2013 09:20 GMT+02:00

"There is a cyberwar going on," Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, said during a cybersecurity debate at the Geneva Press Club.

"Just like a conventional war, there are no winners, only destruction," he warned an audience of reporters, diplomats and technology experts.

While Touré declined to pin the blame on individual countries, such attacks have become common currency.

Russia was widely blamed for what has been dubbed the world's first cyberwar, in 2007, when state and bank websites were blocked for days in Estonia, one of the world's most wired nations and a member of NATO and the European Union.

Since then, attention has focussed on China for alleged state-run cyber attacks on targets in the United States and elsewhere.

In recent weeks, pro-regime Syrian hackers and North and South Korean online warriors have also made headlines.

In an increasingly connected and Internet-dependent world, cyber attacks by governments and criminal gangs alike have the potential to wreak havoc on everything from the financial sector to key public services, Touré said.

That raises the spectre of huge economic losses and social chaos, and Touré said governments and business worldwide must think collectively about how to head that off.

"No one single entity can do it alone," he said.

"We have to change the mindset."

Touré questioned whether nations and businesses were "mentally prepared to work with one another".

He said, "In this arena, there's no such thing as a superpower anymore" because it is cheap to create viruses and launch attacks.

"It's the human brain that's driving this," Touré said.

"So we're all equal in this, and we need to come together," he said.

"That's the new order — it's not one country.

Story continues below…

"It's not like a nuclear power, where the technology, the knowledge base and the infrastructure and the funding are required for that.

"We have to treat cyberspace like we treat the real world."

 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
8 fantastic reasons to visit French-speaking Switzerland
The Grande Dixence dam. Photo: Grande Dixence SA/essencedesign.com

Fourteen percent of German-speaking Swiss have never visited the country’s French-speaking region. Here's why they should.

Report: Swiss economy more competitive than US
File photo: IMD

Switzerland has the most competitive economy in Europe and the second most competitive in the world.

Swiss woman survives horrific crash unscathed
Her car was a write-off. Photo: Schaffhausen cantonal police

A 48-year-old woman had a lucky escape on Monday afternoon in an accident that demolished her car.

Euro 2016
Swiss coach selects France-bound squad
Coach Vladimir Petkovic has been the Swiss coach since 2014. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Defender Philippe Senderos misses out.

Former head of Zurich Insurance dies aged 59
Martin Senn stepped down from Zurich Insurance last year. Photo: Zurich Insurance

Martin Senn took his own life on Friday, the company has announced.

Murderer escapes from Swiss psych hospital
The escaped killer. Photo: Aargau cantonal police

A man convicted of murdering a young girl in the canton of Ticino in 2009 has escaped from a psychiatric clinic and is still at large 48 hours later.

Weekend storms wreak havoc in Switzerland
File photo: Alexander Boden

Storms and heavy rain cause flooding, power outages and landslides.

Swiss Wawrinka advances to the French Open last-eight
It was Wawrinka's fifth win in five meetings with Troicki. Photo: AFP

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka moves into the French Open quarterfinals.

Vast Swiss rail tunnel finally sees light at end of long wait
Workers standing in one of the Gotthard base access tunnels. Photo: AFP

The Gotthard Base Tunnel opens on Wednesday.

London Olympic athletes fail new doping tests
IOC president Thomas Bach announced the news. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/ADP

The Lausanne-based International Olympic Committee reports 23 new doping failures from 2012 Games.

Photo: Swiss Tourism
Features
10 unspoken rules for fitting in with the Swiss
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Photo: Alp Transit Gotthard
National
Gotthard base tunnel: what you need to know
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Sport
Swiss cantons team up to vie for winter Olympic games
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Broad Bean Media
National
Basel: Muslim schoolboys must shake hands or face fine
Photo: Emmanual Dunand/AFP
Sport
Brother of Belgian bomber wins gold in Switzerland
Photo: Gstaad Tourism
National
Snow puts end to hottest weekend of year so far
File photo: Abhishek Jacob
Lifestyle
Swiss court vetoes wedding of couple with 50-year age gap
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Culture
Dog day afternoon: Swiss saint meets Pope in Rome
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Business & Money
Pink diamond sold for record-breaking $31m in Geneva
File photo: Candida Performa
Lifestyle
Revealed: living in Switzerland could prolong your life
Photo: Cervo
Travel
In pictures: Switzerland’s most welcoming hotels
Photo: Aargau cantonal government
‘Beast of Rupperswil’ was local football coach
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Features
Geneva exhibition marks 200 years of Frankenstein
Photo AFP
National
Swiss basic income campaign sets Guinness world record
Photo: St Gallen police
Society
Police hunt killer of man shot dead in St Gallen street
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Society
Presumed jihadist could have Swiss nationality quashed
Photo: Zurich Zoo
Culture
Gallery: giant tortoise at Zurich Zoo is mother at 80
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Society
Swiss farmer loses appeal in row over noisy cow bells
Photo: Esparta Palmer
Health
44-year-old woman refused fertility treatment on insurance
File photo: Thomas Coex/AFP
Society
Jilted admirer shocks woman with tattoo... of her face
File photo: Flickr
Health
Swiss school eyes longer holidays for non-smoking staff
4,570
jobs available