John Suffolk, the global cyber security officer at Huawei, told EurActiv: “There is a danger that cyber could be used as a proxy for a trade barrier. I think every one of us should be very cautious that that accelerates. It’s a view I gave in government and in the private sector and it’s my private view, but I think it’s a dangerous road.”
Suffolk was formerly an adviser and chief information officer to the UK government.
Vinton Cerf, one of the early internet pioneers who works as Google’s chief internet evangelist concurs, stressing that there is an “attempt to create rules of operation which have the effect becoming trade barriers.”
New cybercrime centre ahead
The warnings came as the Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström called on the private sector to help out in efforts to counter cybercrime at a Microsoft-backed forum last week (31 May), which underlined the increased threat from on-line criminality.
In March, Malmström proposed the establishment of a European Cybercrime Centre within Europol to become the Union's focal point in the fight against cybercrime.
The centre will pool European cybercrime expertise and warn EU countries of major threats, new ways to commit online crimes and identify organised networks and prominent offenders in cyberspace.
Scott Charney, a vice president responsible for Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, told the forum: “15 years ago cybercrime threats consisted of opportunistic malware and spam, but advanced persistent threats have increased we have to shift security strategy.”
Trade defence not on EU agenda
Governments currently adopt a “prevent and respond” strategy to cybercrime; they now need to add “detection and containment” to those elements, Charney said.
He said that cybercrime was now “at a huge inflection point” as a result of the shift to cloud computing and the emergence of the “internet of things”.
Speaking at the same forum, Malmström said that a forthcoming eurobarometer poll will show that three-quarters of Europeans believe that there is an increased risk from cybercrime.
“There are a number of ways in which the private sector can contribute sharing information on risks and create a network identifying risks and sharing information,” said Malmström.
Asked by EurActiv about fears that measures to counter cyber crime could be used as proxy for trade defence measures, Malmström said: “It’s absolutely not on our agenda.”