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Internationale gedragsregels voor cyberspace

CAMBRIDGE – De afgelopen maand is Nederland gastheer geweest van de Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, die bijna tweeduizend overheidsfunctionarissen, academici, vertegenwoordigers van het bedrijfsleven en anderen bijeen heeft gebracht. Ik was voorzitter van een panel over vrede en veiligheid in cyberspace, waaraan een vice-president van Microsoft en twee buitenlandse ministers deelnamen. Deze conferentie van 'meerdere belanghebbenden' was de jongste in een reeks pogingen om gedragsregels af te spreken teneinde een conflict in cyberspace te vermijden.

Het vermogen om het internet te gebruiken om schade toe te brengen is nu ruimschoots bewezen. Veel waarnemers geloven dat de Amerikaanse en Israëlische overheid achter een aanval zaten die een paar jaar geleden ultracentrifuges verwoestte in een Iraanse kerncentrale. Sommigen beweren dat een Iraanse aanval verantwoordelijk was voor de vernietiging van duizenden Saoedische Aramco-computers. Rusland heeft de schuld gekregen van zogenoemde 'denial-of-service'-aanvallen op Estland en Georgië. En in december vorig jaar heeft de Amerikaanse president Barack Obama een aanval op Sony Pictures toegeschreven aan de regering van Noord-Korea.

Tot voor kort was de veiligheid in cyberspace grotendeels het domein van een kleine gemeenschap van computerexperts. Toen het internet begin jaren zeventig werd uitgevonden, vormden de leden ervan een virtueel dorp; iedereen kende elkaar en samen ontwierpen zij een open systeem, waarbij weinig aandacht aan de veiligheid werd besteed.

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