Cyber security: strengthening policies to combat threats in the digital world

In a highly connected world, the digital environment encompasses most activities, from fun and entertainment to public services, banking transactions, e-commerce, and access to education and medicine. The topic is growing in importance, and cybersecurity issues are increasingly at the forefront of the discussion on connectivity. Cybersecurity was the focus of a side event held as part of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group on Monday (10), which will continue until Thursday (13) in the city of São Luís, capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhão.

06/10/2024 5:40 PM - Modified 13 days ago
International seminar promoted by the Digital Economy Working Group discussed cyber security among G20 countries. Credit: Kayo Sousa/MCom

One of the pressing issues before society is ensuring full interaction among people without risking their privacy and security in an extremely dynamic space, where new technologies are constantly emerging and artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly advancing.

To explore this topic further, the G20 Digital Economy Working Group held a seminar on security in the digital economy on Monday (10). The Working Group meeting runs until Thursday (13) in the city of São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão.

With the participation of the Brazilian Ministers of State for Communications, Juscelino Filho, and the Office of Institutional Security of the Presidency of the Republic (Gabinete de Segurança Institucional - GSI), Marcos Antônio Amaro, alongside international experts and delegates, the seminar addressed the topic through the perspective of the Working Group’s four priority axes: Universal and Meaningful Connectivity; Information Integrity; Digital Government; and Artificial Intelligence.

"The G20 countries must strengthen cooperation and trust concerning digital security, exchanging experiences and good practices in safer connectivity, and mitigating threats inherent in the digital world," indicated GSI Minister Amaro. "The environment is highly dynamic and governments need to take proactive action against possible cyber attacks."

Minister Juscelino Filho emphasized that people's reality is increasingly inseparable from the virtual world. He recalled that the issue is necessarily transnational, multi-sectoral, and ecosystemic, involving a wide range of actors and requiring a framework of actions, norms, standards, legislation, and policies. "Like climate change, the only effective way to address cyber security is to engage all interested and affected stakeholders, which involves practically the entire world population," he added. "However, there is currently no minimum international ordinance."

An expert on the subject, Professor Danielle Ayres, from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, agrees with the need for a regulatory environment that promotes the safety of digital services users and protects the most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly. She introduced the concept of cyber maturity, which is the ability of governments and organizations to prevent, detect, contain, mitigate, and respond to threats in the digital world.

"States move in a much shorter time than technological advances, which is why security systems require constant and periodical reviews, upgrades, and improvements," she warned. "As this is a cross-border, intersectoral phenomenon, the solutions must be interconnected and the States must make financial resources available for these actions."

European Union example: actions focused on people's safety

Estonian Liina Areng is the director of the CyberNet project, which has been active in the European Union since 2019. She advocates that actions be centered on human beings and cyber-education. "We want users to stop being passive and become active in the defense of their interests. Our goal is to empower people to protect themselves, combat disinformation, be aware of what they consume and how they use digital services," she said.

For her, the concerns of individuals are very similar, whether in India, Estonia, the United States, or Brasil. She defends the promotion of awareness campaigns, both general and audience-specific, with the participation of influencers, artists, and well-known and credible people. "The process is complex, takes time, and requires money. But we must invest in it consistently," she concluded.

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