Cyber threats

1 Overview: Cyber Threats

By Paul Meyer
Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation Canada, Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace

Cyberspace, the broad term for the system of networked computer systems for which the Internet is the chief embodiment, is a unique, human-created environment. The potential of information and communication technology to benefit humanity is vast and the growth in its use world-wide has been exponential. Today close to four billion people are connected to the Internet and a community of “netizens” has emerged.

Unfortunately, the growth of cyberspace has not been matched by a similar development of global governance for it. Even more worrisome, is the degree to which cyberspace has become “militarized” with states developing capabilities, not only for the defence of their own systems, but also offensive capabilities that threaten damage and destruction to entities beyond their borders. These trends within national security establishments of leading cyber powers have accelerated and the detrimental impact of cyber operations on civilian interests has grown. A narrative of “cyber war” has been espoused by major states, depicting this remarkable product of human ingenuity as just another “war-fighting domain”.

Expand article

2 Platform for Survival items

19. The UN shall declare cyberspace a peaceful commons and create a binding treaty for international cyber norms.
20. Manufacturers of ICT hardware and software shall be liable for negligent security failures that cause harm.

3 Links

4 Wiki

Each of the proposals above has its own page on the Project Save the World wiki. Our intention is that people will volunteer to use the wiki for an essay on how the proposal can be put into action, what changes may need to be introduced, and so on.

If you are interested in being a contributor, contact us at

5 Papers and articles

With hacking of US utilities, Russia could move from cyberespionage toward cyberwar

[Cilluffo and Cardash,] The distinction between exploiting weaknesses to gather information – also known as “intelligence preparation of the battlefield” – and using those vulnerabilities to actually do damage is impossibly thin and depends on the intent of the people doing it. Intentions are notoriously difficult to figure out. In global cyberspace they may...

Read more ...

Please contact the page administrator if you have research material (published or unpublished) which you wish to submit.

2 Responses

  1. Adele Buckley says:

    Why Canada needs a cyber security foreign policy
    By PAUL MEYER JUN. 14, 2018

    It could guide our efforts to influence the development of international policy on cyberspace and help set norms for responsible state conduct.

    War or peace in cyberspace? This basic question was the theme of a recent gathering of cyber security experts held at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont. Unlike many such meetings, the focus was on international policy and the status to be accorded this vital, if vulnerable, environment.
    There has been a steady “militarization” of cyberspace in recent years, with states moving from an exclusive focus on cyber defence to an open acknowledgement of offensive cyber capabilities.

    Paul Meyer is a former Canadian ambassador for disarmament, a senior fellow of The Simons Foundation and the chair of the Canadian Pugwash Group. He organized the May 24 conference in Waterloo: “War or Peace in Cyberspace: Whither International Cyber Security?”

  2. admin says:

    Submitted by David Harries

    Cyber attacks: what might be called for

    #19. An independent PoC for global cyber norms will recognize that the UN can ‘declare’, but is unlikely ever to be able to ‘bind’ states on cyberspace issues.
    #20. A legally-empowered ‘office’[1] will globally monitor ICT designers and producers for compliance with practices promoting high standards of hardware and software security and publicize acts of negligence.

    [1] An unsuccessful Proposal made for the 30/31 May conference was the establishment of a UN Technology Office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *