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UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters discussed issues of cybersecurity at nuclear facilities

28.09.2017

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 28, 2017. PIR PRESS — “In the case of nuclear facilities, standard cybersecurity approaches are not enough. Advanced strategies are needed, such as cybersecurity by design, real-time event management, and deployment of cryptography on industrial networks. For those to happen, we’d first need regulatory debates and long-term investments”, — Dr. Vladimir A. Orlov, member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, Special Advisor to the PIR Center.

During the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the report of the UN Secretary General on the work of Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters in 2017 has been presented. The report contains the recommendations proposed by the members of Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters during its sixty-seventh and sixty-eighth sessions.

The meeting of the sixty-eighth session of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters was held on June 28-30 2017 in New York. Three issues were at the heart of the agenda: recommendations on the development of disarmament and nonproliferation education; assessment of the cyberattack threats on nuclear and bio-facilities; the impact of artificial intelligence on international security.

In the report presented by the UN Secretary General has been noted: “The Board expresses its support for the central role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and calls for more attention and resources to be devoted to countering the cyberthreat to nuclear materials and installations. IAEA could, for instance, become the global repository of information on potential and failed threats against peaceful nuclear installations”.

Concerning the issues of the cyberattack threats on nuclear facilities, the report also highlights the importance of the new United Nations structure, the activity of which is aimed at countering international terrorism: “The Board welcomes the establishment of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and recommends that it include in its remit the threat of cyberattacks by terrorists on nuclear facilities”. The member of PIR Center Advisory Board Vladimir Voronkov has been appointed as the head of the Counter-Terrorism Office.

On the topic of technology control, in the report has been mentioned that: “An emerging technology such as cyber cannot be controlled with traditional arms control tools or the existing disarmament machinery, owing to its often intangible nature, fast-paced evolution and the secrecy associated with its development. The difficulty of attributing responsibility and liability are also complicating factors that challenge traditional approaches”.

It also has been noted that: “UNIDIR was preparing a mapping exercise on the various initiatives in the United Nations system on cyber- and international security. The Board requests that it be given the widest dissemination possible, including by the Office for Disarmament Affairs”.

Member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, the Founder & Special Advisor to the PIR Center, the Head of the Center for Global Trends and International Organizations of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Dr. Vladimir A. Orlov, commented on the issues of cybersecurity of nuclear facilities and preventing terrorist attacks in his article for the World Economic Forum:

“In the case of nuclear facilities, standard cybersecurity approaches are not enough. Advanced strategies are needed, such as cybersecurity by design, real-time event management, and deployment of cryptography on industrial networks. For those to happen, we’d first need regulatory debates and long-term investments… Up on the international level, we’re met with a legal vacuum: no international mechanisms aimed at countering and preventing such acts are in place. Because of how sensitive this topic is, and because of national security considerations, this issue falls out of the scope of anti-cybercrime frameworks… In these circumstances, the International Atomic Energy Agency should focus on providing technical guidelines, trainings, capacity building and awareness-raising activities about computer security at nuclear facilities”.

The PIR Center has active projects on the issues of global security agenda. It is developing the project Cybersecurity of Critical Nuclear Infrastructure. At the ongoing sixty-eighth session of UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters the members have been presented with the article of PIR Center Consultant Oleg Demidov “Protecting nuclear infrastructure: the need for coordinated action in the domain of technical standardization, coordinated strategy and exchange of information”.

In 2016 as part of the Work Process on Cybersecurity of Nuclear Facilities Council on the global agenda of the World Economic Forum PIR Center in cooperation with the Geneva-based Center Russe d'Etudes Politiques prepared the report  “Cyber security of civilian nuclear facilities: assessing the threat, mapping the path forward”.

Other materials on the topic of information security and cybersecurity of nuclear facilities can be found on this site

For questions regarding to the participation of Vladimir Orlov in the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, please contact us by phone +7 (495) 987 19 15 or e-mail orlov at pircenter.org.



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