Feeds

Make cyberwar a no-no equal to nukes, bio, and chemical attacks, says RSA headman

And while you're at it, Art Coviello suggests, break up the NSA

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

RSA 2014 RSA's chairman Art Coviello has come out fighting over claims that his firm is colluding with the NSA to weaken standards, calling for the breakup of the intelligence agency and a new global set of standards to make online warfare as unacceptable as the use of nuclear or chemical weapons.

Coviello said that RSA, along with almost every other computer security firm, worked with the NSA in defending the US. But he defended the company's support for the pre-weakened Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG) standard endorsed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, saying that RSA worked with standards bodies and had changed its software once the flaw had been found in the encryption technique.

However, Coviello said that the NSA had overstepped the mark and that the agency needs to be broken up to ensure that its role is solely defensive in nature and to keep its operations under rein. But he also called on governments and the security industry to adopt four key principles to avoid the destruction of trust and privacy online.

First, he said, governments around the world need to renounce the use of offensive cyberweapons, and through treaties and mutual agreements make them as forbidden as nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.

"The genie is out of the bottle on cyberweapons, they are easily propagated and can be turned on their developers," he said. "Those who seek military advantage by riding this tiger will end up inside it. We must have the same abhorrence to cyber war as we do to nuclear and chemical warfare."

Second, countries must work together to investigate, arrest, and prosecute cyber criminals. The current mish-mash of different laws means there are effective safe havens for online criminals and terrorists. This needs to be rectified, he said.

While governments are doing that, they need to establish rules to ensure economic activity online is secured and intellectual property rights are respected. "The rule of law must rule," Coviello insisted.

Finally, the privacy of people online needs to be respected. Personal information is increasingly the currency of the digital world and it has to be protected, he said, and fundamental protections need to be enshrined in law for the future.

"Many will be skeptical or cynical that these principles will be adopted. Many might think me naïve for proposing them," he said. "But there is precedent. We have accords outlawing nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare and war in space, so why not cyberspace?" ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.