Information security -a priority task of the ?entral Asian region

As known, in the past year within the framework of the 27th anniversary of neutrality of Turkmenistan Ashgabat hosted the Fifth Central Asian Expert Forum under the title “Topical aspects of regional cooperation in climate change, water management and food security and information and communication technologies in the Central Asian region”.

The Research Centre for Strategic Studies of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan acted as moderator of the event with assistance of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.

Such large-scale forum of leading experts of the region was held in the light of progressive development of further rapprochement of countries and deepening of regional cooperation in all aspects of interaction. The goal of the meeting was to discuss with leading experts of Central Asian countries topical issues of ensuring regional cooperation, development of common strategic approaches, practical proposals and recommendations for governments of regional states on agreed areas.

In the regular meeting heads and exerts of Institutes of Strategic Studies of Central Asian countries, heads and representatives of diplomatic missions, UNRCCA, teaching staff and students of the IIR of the MFA, representatives of mass media took part.

Rather little time has passed since the Ashgabat forum. In various mass media of the region, there appeared many responses and statements on this regard. Experts shared their ideas and proposals on the issues under discussion. In particular, one of the widely highlighted problems in the print media became the topic of joint counteraction against information threats in the region.

As we remember well that speaking at the recent Summit of heads of states of the region esteemed President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov outlining modern threats and challenges for the Central Asian region among others as one of the main problems in the sphere of security singled out “illegal use of information technologies for creation of ideas and patterns from outside, which come into clash with historical traditions of peoples of Central Asia, basics values and age-old pillars of their life”.

Then in his speech President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov underlined especially that for counteraction of outlined challenges, including counteraction of illegal use of informations technologies, it is necessary to act jointly building the integrated system of security for five countries of the region so that Central Asia can continue its development in the atmosphere of stability and prosperity.

Such principal position on this issue was maintained by all the experts of the region in their speeches and publications without exception. In particular, first Deputy Director of the Institute of Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Akramjon Nematov in his speech underlined: “Information and communication technologies have become a system forming factor in the life of modern society. They make an impact on political, social, economic, military and other spheres of security.

For the past 10 years, the number of users of internet grew more than twice, from 2, 18 billion in early 2012 to five billion in July of 2022 (63, 1% of world population). Researches show that on average every user spends almost seven hours a day in the internet.

However, dynamic digitization of life of society, business and states cause a number of objective problems in cyber security. By evaluation of experts in 2021 the number of cyber-attacks in the world increased by 50% as compared with 2020. Damage from cyber-attacks in 2021excedded six trillion dollars as compared with three trillion dollars in 2015.

In 2021 among the most attacked sectors in the world the first place was taken by education and researches sectors – 1605 (increased in attacks by 75% as compared with 2020). State and military defence organizations suffered 1136 attacks (+47%); communication sphere – 1079 (+51%); healthcare – 830 (+71%).

In spite of efforts, Central Asian countries face worsening of threats to information security, including growth of activity of extremist groups in the virtual space.

Moreover, as analysis shows, extremists see use of “doubtful sites in social media “as the most efficient method to supplement the number of their adherents. In this connection, the global problem requires adequate reaction. It is necessary to combine our efforts, coordination of our joint actin so that to increase efficiency to combat this phenomenon.

Only b such way we can keep our youth from that evil and give them best conditions for development and self-realization».

Professor of the Department of Social Sciences of the Academy of Public Service of Turkmenistan under the President of Turkmenistan, Doctor of Social Sciences Ovezberdi Muhametberdiyev also made concrete proposals on combat of cyber threats and illegal challenges in the sphere of information technologies. In his speech, in particular he noted: “By the start of the twenty first century over humanity, which could not fully cope with numerous global security problems –natural and anthropogenic calamities, epidemics and armed conflicts, there prevailed another treat of constant attacks on all kinds of information in cyber space. In our vocabulary there appeared a new term –cybersecurity”.

Possibilities of world wide web today are actively learned not only by businesspersons, public servants, students, ordinary people but every kinds of cheaters, criminals and terrorists. Not only service and private information sectors are subjected to attacks in recent years. There appeared the total sophisticated electronic surveillance systems. It creates threat to security of not only sovereignty of states but causes change reaction of mistrust and unleashes competition in information war at the international level.

Problems of cybersecurity developed by people are always renewed and modified requiring not only constant attention but also qualitatively growth of efforts to combat them. Today, most of countries face various types of criminal kinds of cyber threats -cyber–espionage, stealing of financial and intellectual properties, eve dropping of telephone talks of public figures and others.

It speaks of the fact that information space is so much vulnerable for various criminal and hacker groups, special units that interested sides lavishly sponsor a number of cases.

Today, every day hundreds of cyber-attacks are made and criminals obtain personal data of millions of people, secret materials of various state structures, and commercial data of private companies.

For this reason today it is quite important to look into such matters at international level in my view:

-observance of generally accepted principles of international law in this area;

-coordination and reorientation of researches and development ion the sphere of computer security;

-enhancement of situational awareness of acting centres for computer security;

-enhancement of level of computer security used for work with secret data;

-development of educational programs for computer sector;

-development of action plans for «a leap forward» in the sphere of strategies, technologies and programs of computer security.

One of h goals of international strategy in this area should become development of such technologies which could ensure cybersecurity of systems which many times exceed efficiency of the present ones and which could be realized during upcoming 5–10 years , development of a complex approach for global management of risks of delivery of equipment and software products».

By the outcome of the forum experts of the region unanimously confirmed that the sphere of international information security requires today the most acute attention of the world community, which should develop universal rules for action of states in the information space that in its turn serves one of the important guarantees of regional and international security.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper