On Friday, the United Nations disarmament official warned that cybercrime was on the rise, with a 600% increase in malicious e-mail messages during the Corona pandemic.
Izumi Nakamitsu told an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council that the emerging Kurna virus crisis is pushing the world towards increased technology innovation and online collaboration. But she said, “There are also disturbing reports of (cyber) attacks against health care organizations and medical research facilities around the world.”
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs said that increased digital dependence increased exposure to cyberattacks, and estimated that such attacks would occur every 39 seconds.
According to the International Telecommunication Union, nearly 90 countries are still in the early stages of commitment to cybersecurity.
Nakamitsu said the threat of misuse of information and communications technology is “urgent”.
But she said there is also good news, noting some global progress at the United Nations to address threats by a group of government experts who have developed 11 voluntary, non-binding standards for responsible state behavior in the use of this technology.
For his part, Estonian Prime Minister Guri Ratas, whose country holds the presidency of the Security Council and organized a meeting on Friday, said the need for a “safe and effective electronic space” has become more urgent than ever. He condemned cyberattacks targeting hospitals, medical research facilities, and other infrastructure, especially during the epidemic.
“These attacks are unacceptable,” said Ratas. “It will be important to hold criminals responsible for their behavior.”
Russia did not attend the informal meeting of the Council, which was broadcast over the Internet, which was the focus of the Estonian Council presidency. The other 14 councilors attended, along with about 50 other countries that spoke.
The United Nations Russian Mission said in a statement on its website that it did not attend because Estonia, the United Kingdom, and the United States violated the “established practice” that all members of the Council are attending in informal meetings “regardless of whether they agree on it or reject it.”
The three countries did not attend a Russia-sponsored informal meeting on Crimea on Thursday.
The three opposed Russia’s takeover and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.