COPAIR Organized a Virtual Conference on 17 October 2020


“Contours of National Cyber Strategy: Technical and Policy Perspective”

Center of Pakistan and International Relations hosted a virtual conference today to gather insights from the technical experts and policymakers related to cybersecurity from Australia, European countries, USA and Libya. Eminent policymakers, academics and cyber experts attended the two-hour-long session and asked questions pertaining to the national and individual security related to the cyberspace. This session was part of the series of conferences COPAIR is hosting this month as ground research to share the policy recommendations with national security-related public institutions.

Awais Siddique was the moderator of the session. He commenced the session with the introduction of COPAIR and then shared a brief about the prevalent cybersecurity situation of Pakistan. Awais also highlighted the need for formulating a national-level cyber strategy for Pakistan, while also securing the civil liberties of its citizens at the same time.

Paul Rosenzweig from Washington, DC was the first speaker. He expressed his views about the topic “Defending Forward and Persistent Engagement: America’s Cyber Strategy”. He stated that the US holds a persistent cybersecurity and surveillance policy due to multi-dimensional cybersecurity threats stemming from both the state and non-state actors. One of the notable factors is that US cybersecurity policy is not confidential, however, it works on preemption mechanism while mitigating probable cyber threats. While explaining the executing strategy, he proclaimed that the US has a centralized fusion system to neutralize the cyber-attack.

Anooshe Mushtaq, hailing from Australia, spoke about “Australia’s Cyber Strategy. She highlighted the chronology of establishing Australian cybersecurity over the years and also explained the structural mechanism of cybersecurity system while referring the explicit case study of cyber-attacks during the Covid-19. Her main emphasis was on the education of masses because

according to her human behaviour is really significant in threat analysis and dealing respectively.

Zoe Dabbs from USA enlightened audience on the topic, “Mitigating insider threat in implementing Cybersecurity Policy”. She started with a comprehensive review of insider threat appliance and also mentioned that 50% of data breaches are carried out by the insiders while 90% of threats go undetected. Adding further, an extensive analysis was also presented about mitigation strategies and tools in which she elucidated on the role of human errors, organizational practice and tools.

Francisco Fonseca representing Europe elucidated on the subject of Understanding the Cybersecurity posture of critical infrastructure through a technical approach. The major theme of his discussion was translating complex cybersecurity issues into a simple business context. The performances appraisal of companies related to cybersecurity, he explained the procedure of cybersecurity posture of CNI and highlighted posed challenges to the tactical sector.

Haris Khan from the USA briefed on “Policy orientation for securing critical infrastructure from cyber threats.” He acknowledged Pakistan’s safety and surveillance vis-à-vis critical infrastructure, particularly the combatants of nuclear power plants. He refuted misperceptions of security vulnerability of such critical infrastructure to the adversaries.

Mohamed Ben Naseir, a doctorate holder in cybersecurity from the UK and presently working as the cybersecurity capacity building in his country of origin Libya presented a case study of Libya with reference to “Capacity Building for National Cybersecurity.” He also explained the procedural dimension of the national cybersecurity building framework. According to him, political will is a fundamental imperative to devise the discourse of national cybersecurity of any country.

Amna Malik, the President of Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) concluded the session with her recommendations for the national cyber strategy formulation for Pakistan and commended the efforts of COPAIR team for their untiring efforts to make the event a success. She also extended her gratitude to the diverse group of panellists and participants and encouraged the youngsters of Pakistan to equip themselves with the modern digital skillset and act as the change-makers for Pakistan.

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