TOP | Weekly Column | (Japan) Cooperation for safer cyberspace

Cooperation for safer cyberspace
National center of Incidnet readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC)
Deputy Director-General
Dr. Ikuo Misumi

Today, we are in a new era of social and industrial revolution.  ICTs will continue to bring us considerable convenience.  Many kinds of networked ICT objects and systems, such as advanced robots and 3D printers, have largely contributed to increased productivity and business innovation.   Likewise, IoT is on the top of the list of hot global issues.  IoT and IoT devices, such as connected cars, will become driving forces for economic development in the future.  Moreover, advanced technologies, such as blockchains and Artificial Intelligence (AI), will speed up the revolution.
In the meantime, threats in cyberspace are expanding.  Techniques used by malicious actors today are sophisticated.  The number of cyberattacks is also growing.  For example, we had the major incident involving the Japan Pension Service (JPS) in May last year.  The JPS’ systems were breached through spear phishing attacks and more than one million personal records were stolen.  The messages of the spear phishing emails were written in proper Japanese, not like the one produced by automatic translation software.  On the other hand, the malware used in the attacks communicated to certain IP addresses including those in foreign countries.  Another example is the recent massive and sustained DDoS attacks.  It is said that the DDoS attacks were launched by using hacked IoT devices such as video cameras.  The infected devices are found in various countries.  Such malicious activities impede the progress of cyberspace, which generates infinite values. 
I believe that we cannot cope with the critical situations without close collaboration of stakeholders.  In order to take down malicious activities on a global scale, international and regional cooperation and coordination between the public and private sectors are very important.  
In September last year, the Cabinet of Japan decided the new Cybersecurity Strategy.  In the Cybersecurity Strategy, we have expressed our commitment to international cooperation.  The Asia Pacific region has a deep historical connection with Japan.  The flow of people and investment by Japanese companies in the region are increasing.  And, as a responsible member of the region, Japan will vigorously promote international partnerships in the cybersecurity field.  Also, based on shared basic values, Japan will promote its cooperation with the North America region, Europe, and other parts of the world.  
In the Cybersecurity Strategy, we have also emphasized the important role played by the private sector, taking into account that cyberspace and its essential technologies, namely, ICTs, have been developed mainly by private-led investments.  In this regard, collaboration between the public and private sectors are indispensable.  We need to encourage the private sector’s further engagement in cybersecurity.  As one of the policies formulated in line with the Cybersecurity Strategy, we have established a general framework for secure IoT systems.  The purpose of this framework is to provide better business environment in cyberspace.  For the promotion of the private sector’s cybersecurity related activities, we are going to propose the development of international standards of the general framework for secure IoT systems in cooperation with other supporting countries.
I strongly believe that we will be able to build safety features necessary to deter cyberattacks and subsequently contribute to ensuring safe and secure cyberspace, by promoting multilateral cooperation and public-private partnerships.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization or its affiliates, and the copyright belongs to the author.