Multilateral Approaches for Improving Global Security in Cyberspace

September 2012
Topics: Collaborative Decision Making, Computer Security, International Relations
Robert J. Butler, The MITRE Corporation
Irving Lachow, The MITRE Corporation
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Effective cyber security requires that national governments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations work together to understand threats in cyberspace and to share information and capabilities for mitigating those threats. This is necessary because cyberspace is an interconnected environment that provides tremendous benefits to nations, organizations and individuals. Unfortunately, this environment is also a haven for criminals, terrorists, and other actors whose intentions could undermine the value of the cyberspace commons for the majority of its users. If like-minded actors fail to understand and mitigate these risks, they are placing national and economic security in jeopardy. Global security in cyberspace is predicated on nations coming together with like minded will, intent, and capabilities to defend against common threats. This article will explore how multilateral approaches can be applied to the cyber security challenge. It begins by describing the importance of principles and norms for building a common understanding of goals, terms and concepts. The article then identifies the key players that must participate in a multilateral framework. Although nation states are the principal actors in our proposed approach, businesses, political and military alliances, and international organizations must all play a role in securing the international cyber ecosystem. Our paper addresses the strengths and challenges that each player brings to the table, and ends with a summary of our findings.

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