RIYADH: Global cyber rules and international coordination are necessary to ensure a safe online space, as cybercrimes have risen exponentially over the past few years, according to a top expert.
Speaking at a session during the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh on Nov.10, Ian Goldin, professor of Globalization and Development at Oxford University, and the former vice president and head of policy of the World Bank, said that cybercrimes happening globally are different from issues like climate change.
"Threats in the online space are more like a pandemic that evolves,” he said.
Goldin added: “When it comes to climate change, you can take 12 countries and can solve 90 percent of issues. However, the difference in the cyber world is that everyone is important. It is more like a pandemic.”
He added that much greater collaboration between the private sector and governments is needed to combat cyber threats.
During the session, Goldin said that 90 percent of cyber vulnerability comes from user behavior which includes opening phishing emails, malware, using USB sticks that are not secure, etc.
“We should keep learning as technology is evolving. We have to also understand the minds of attackers. We have to learn where these people are coming from, and it demands lots of diligence,” he said.
Goldin further pointed out that there is a shortage of cybersecurity experts in the world, and it is creating issues while dealing with online threats.
Speaking on the first day of the event on Nov. 9, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Digital Economy Isa Ali Ibrahim said that the world needs almost 3.5 million more cybersecurity professionals to combat the rise in online crimes.
“In July, a report suggested that we need 8.1 million cybersecurity professionals globally this year. Today, we have around 4.7 million professionals, and still, we have a vacancy of 3.4 million,” said Ali Ibrahim.
For his part, author and digital futurist Andreas Ekström said that humans should learn and re-learn to combat the continuous threats posed by hackers.
He also added that better coordination and cooperation between countries are very much necessary to solve cybercrime-related issues.
“I am a devoted internationalist. I believe that more communication and more cooperation is the way for us to go, and there is no turning back,” said Ekström.
As the online world crosses all geographical boundaries, Ekström said that a digital identity, very similar to a passport is needed to ensure a safe online space.
“The risk now is that the digital identity is needed, and might also be used like an old boring passport,” said Ekström.
He further pointed out that police forces in countries should be also educated regarding cybercrimes.