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Podcast: Can governments protect us from dangerous software bugs?


Transcript

Listen: We've probably all felt the slight annoyance at prompts we receive to update our devices. But these updates deliver vital patches to our software, protecting us from bad actors. Governments around the world are increasingly interested in monitoring when dangerous bugs are discovered as a means to protect citizens. But would such regulation have the intended effect?

In season 2, episode 5 of Patching the System, we focus on the international system of bringing peace and security online. In this episode, we look at how software vulnerabilities are discovered and reported, what government regulators can and can't do, and the strength of a coordinated disclosure process, among other solutions.

Our participants are:

  • Dustin Childs, Head of Threat Awareness at the Zero Day Initiative at Trend Micro
  • Serge Droz from the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST)
  • Ali Wyne, Eurasia Group Senior Analyst (moderator)
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Podcast: Would the proposed UN Cybercrime Treaty hurt more than it helps?

Transcript

Listen: As the world of cybercrime continues to expand, it follows suit that more international legal standards should follow. But while many governments around the globe see a need for a cybercrime treaty to set a standard, a current proposal on the table at the United Nations is raising concerns among private companies and nonprofit organizations alike. There are fears it covers too broad a scope of crime and could fail to protect free speech and other human rights across borders while not actually having the intended effect of combatting cybercrime.

In season 2, episode 4 of Patching the System, we focus on the international system of online peace and security. In this episode, we hear about provisions currently included in the proposed Russia-sponsored UN cybercrime treaty as deliberations continue - and why they might cause more problems than they solve.

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How cyberattacks hurt people in war zones
How cyberattack immiserate people in war zones | Global Stage | GZERO Media

How cyberattacks hurt people in war zones

They may not be bombs or tanks, but hacks and cyberattacks can still make life miserable for people caught in the crosshairs of conflicts. By targeting key infrastructure and humanitarian organizations, warring governments can deny crucial services to civilians on the other side of no-man's-land.

And just like with conventional weapons, there can be collateral damage, said Stéphane Duguin, CEO of the Cyber Peace Institute. "We have 53 countries in the world targeted by these attacks across 23 sectors of critical infrastructure or essential services," he said. "At the end of the day, you end up having civilians who cannot benefit from essential services because of what has been escalated into another part of the world."

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Why snooping in your private life is big business
Why snooping in your private life is big business | Caught in the Digital Crosshairs | GZERO Media

Why snooping in your private life is big business

Kaja Ciglic, senior director of digital diplomacy at Microsoft, said, "cybersecurity is the defining challenge of our time" amid a spike in misinformation campaigns thanks to wars in Ukraine and Gaza, growing interest from governments in building cyberweapons, and plain old profit-motivated thieves.

"We are seeing private sector enterprises that, effectively, are selling services, products that allow their customers to break into, whether it's a personal account, whether it's into an organization's account," she said. "The cyber mercenary market that is also emerging is also a very strong concern for Microsoft."

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How rogue states use cyberattacks to undermine stability
How rogue states use cyberattacks to undermine stability | Global Stage | GZERO Media

How rogue states use cyberattacks to undermine stability

Cyberattacks are about a lot more than just money these days. Both unscrupulous governments and extremist groups are increasingly using hacking to advance political aims, says Kaja Ciglic, senior director of digital diplomacy at Microsoft.

When the International Committee for the Red Cross or International Court of Justice experiences cyberattacks, she said, "These are all organizations that are trying to defend peace and stability, they're trying to advocate for all of our human rights." The fact that unscrupulous governments are spending taxpayer money to purchase tools that interrupt their work, she noted, is worth taking a stand against.

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The devastating impact of cyberattacks and how to protect against them
The devastating impact of cyberattacks and how to protect against them | Global Stage | GZERO Media

The devastating impact of cyberattacks and how to protect against them

Imagine one day you found out someone had hacked your phone. What would that mean for your life? With the right software, the bad guys might be able to get into your bank account, surveil your messages, or even steal your fingerprints and facial scans.

That's what happened to human rights attorney David Haigh, who became the first-known British victim of the powerful Pegasus spyware in 2021 while trying to help women of Emirati and Jordanian royalty escape alleged abuse. He learned that his phone was under surveillance – so his communications and the information stored on the device were compromised.

Two years on, he still lives in fear for the privacy of his loved ones and clients. "The police have done nothing,” he says. “There's no support from the government. There's no real information.”

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Podcast: Foreign influence, cyberspace, and geopolitics

Transcript

Listen: Thanks to advancing technology like artificial intelligence and deep fakes, governments can increasingly use the online world to spread misinformation and influence foreign citizens and governments - as well as citizens at home. At the same time, governments and private companies are working hard to detect these campaigns and protect against them while upholding ideals like free speech and privacy.

In season 2, episode 3 of Patching the System, we're focusing on the international system of bringing peace and security online. In this episode, we look at the world of foreign influence operations and how policymakers are adapting.

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Podcast: Cyber mercenaries and the global surveillance-for-hire market

Transcript

Listen: The use of mercenaries is nothing new in kinetic warfare, but they are becoming a growing threat in cyberspace as well. The weapon of choice for cyber mercenaries is malicious spyware that undermines otherwise benign technologies and can be sold for profit. Luckily, awareness about this threat is also growing, and increasing global coordination efforts are being put forth to combat this dangerous trend.

In episode 2, season 2 of Patching the System, we're focusing on the international system of bringing peace and security online. In this episode, we look at what governments and private enterprises are doing to combat the growth of the cyber mercenary industry.

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