At Kingdom Cyber Security 2017 (KCS), you will be tackling the hot issue of protection of critical national infrastructure. Can you elaborate a bit?
My contribution to the Kingdom Cyber Security event is based on one important recommendation of the UN GGE on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security that refers to the use and operation of critical infrastructure. This recommendation was included in the 2015 report and emphasizes that States should take appropriate measures to protect their critical infrastructure from ICT threats. Also, States should not harm the information systems of the authorized emergency response teams of another State or use those teams to engage in malicious international activity. Last but not least important, States should encourage the responsible reporting of ICT vulnerabilities and take reasonable steps to ensure the integrity of the supply chain and prevent the proliferation of malicious ICT tools, techniques or harmful hidden functions.
What are the top takeaways for the attendees?
My goal is to share with the participants and attendees the Spanish approach in general to three issues: how to improve regional security of critical ICT infrastructure, how to elaborate voluntary Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) and how to develop capabilities for CIIP (Critical Information Infrastructure Protection). In particular, I believe that I may contribute with some views on how to develop inter-regional formats for cooperation in cyber security, based on my experience as a diplomat in UN and OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe).
Why are you participating in the Kingdom Cyber Security 2017?
Spain considers that ICT provide immense opportunities and continue to grow in importance for the international community. However, there are disturbing trends representing risks for international peace and security. States should therefore cooperate effectively in order to prevent harmful practices in cyberspace. At the same time, the international cyber security market, one of the fastest growing markets in the ICT sector, yields huge economic opportunities for small and medium-sized cyber-enterprises. KCS is an excellent opportunity to explore experiences from Saudi Arabia and other partner countries in the development of public and private partnerships in this area.
Saudi Arabia is presently gearing up for a nationwide digital transformation. This means that improving and protecting technological infrastructure in the country is necessary. Exchange of best practices in this respect may be very useful for both parties. This is the first time that Spain is participating in the event, and I am really looking forward to discussing with other participants and the Middle East’s top government and business security experts about how to address the growing concern over securing critical infrastructure. Kingdom Cyber Security has a great importance and is also an opportunity to explore with Saudi government agencies and other major stakeholders on how to collaborate on issues like cyber security governance and adoption of recognized information security frameworks.
Why is Saudi Arabia an important market/platform for you?
During King Felipe VI’s visit in January, Spain and Saudi Arabia discussed cooperation between the two countries in various technological fields. Cyber security is becoming more and more intrinsic in industry. And experts agree that cyber security will become one of hottest industries globally by 2020. From this perspective, Saudi Arabia plays a key role in the region, and the development of Saudi-Spanish joint ventures would strengthen both countries’ capacities in the cyber security industry and would allow Saudi-Spanish businesses to seize these opportunities and reinforce trust of citizens and businesses in the digital world, contributing to the global goal of ICT security.