Speech delivered by Ernesto Rodríguez Hernández, Deputy Minister of Communications of Cuba, at the Fourth Substantive Session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Cybersecurity 2021/2025. Discussions on the existing and emerging threats.

Mr. Chairman:

Member States face a variety of threats in the field of information security.

The growing development of offensive cyber capabilities and the inclusion by some States of the use of offensive cyber weapons in their national security strategies, and the conduct of offensive cyber operations, as well as the possibility of preemptive cyber-attacks to deter adversaries, may turn cyberspace into a new theater of conflict. This danger is heightened by doctrines that consider the use of force as a legitimate response to a cyber-attack.

The covert and illegal use of computer systems of other nations, by individuals, organizations and States, aimed at carrying out cyberattacks against third countries, can also be a trigger for international conflicts.

The misuse of information and communication technologies and media platforms, including social networks and radio and electronic broadcasts, as a tool for interventionism through the promotion of hate speech, incitement to violence, subversion, destabilization, dissemination of false information and distortion of reality against any State for political purposes and as a pretext for the threat or use of force, also represent a threat to nations and contravene the principles of international law.

These actions are part of the so-called fourth-generation warfare, which is based on the manipulation of emotions, from the use of information stored and processed in violation of the protection of personal data rights, involving companies that turn this model of action into a business.

We reaffirm the right and duty of States to combat, within the framework of their constitutional prerogatives, the dissemination of false or distorted news that may be interpreted as interference in the internal affairs of other States or as prejudicial to the promotion of peace, cooperation and friendly relations among States and nations.

Cuba has repeatedly denounced how access to platforms and services is limited, social network accounts are blocked, investments for the development of ICT infrastructure are hindered, and alternatives are hypocritically promoted to encourage services outside state control for subversive ends.

All this is taking place in an international context of the continuing threats to peace and security from armed conflicts, unconventional wars, attempted regime changes and frequent violations of the United Nations Charter and international law, as well as terrorist acts, including State terrorism.

In order to counter the abovementioned threats, a global commitment to the use of ICTs for exclusively peaceful purposes and for the benefit of the cooperation and development of peoples is required. The use of ICTs as a pretext for the outbreak of war, the threat or use of force or as a tool for interventionism, subversion, destabilization, dissemination of false news, misrepresentation to suit political ends, and disinformation media campaigns against sovereign governments, must be prohibited. There must be a clear opposition to the militarization of cyberspace

The colossal technological gap and the obstacles imposed on developing countries to invest in the security of their ICT infrastructures, which limit their capacity to face the growing and complex existing and emerging threats, must be addressed.

It is necessary to adopt a legally binding international instrument, within the framework of the United Nations, which complements the applicable international law, responds to the significant legal gaps in cybersecurity and makes it possible to effectively address the growing challenges and threats through international cooperation.

Based on the foregoing, we would like to share some actions that could contribute to address existing and emerging threats in the ICT environment:

  1. To increase cooperation in dealing with cyber incidents, by exchanging information that does not compromise the privacy of the States with respect to their capabilities or contravene national legislation.
  1. To implement technical assistance mechanisms for capacity building, including those to improve the protection of critical infrastructure, based on respect for the national legislation of the States.
  1. To share best practices in dealing with cyber incidents, especially among Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), to increase the operational capabilities of countries in the event of a cyberattack
  1. To standardize, to the extent possible, the nomenclature of cyber incidents in the search for a common terminology to facilitate the exchange of information on incident response.
  1. To establish a multilateral mechanism to determine, in an impartial and unequivocal manner, the origin of ICT-related incidents.

Thank you