Combatting Cyber Threats: CSIRTs and Fostering International Cooperation on Cybersecurity

GCIG Paper No. 23

December 8, 2015

The increasing visibility and sophistication of cyber attacks, coupled with the global interconnection and dependence of the Internet, has created a need not only for specialized skills in the prevention of and response to cyber attacks but also for cooperation on a global scale. A “cyber regime complex” is emerging as governments, the private sector, the technical community and non-governmental organizations cooperate to secure cyberspace. Computer security incident response teams (CSIRTs) are key actors in the cyber regime complex that help the broader Internet community prevent and respond to cyber incidents through incident analysis and response, information sharing and dissemination, and skills training. Teams generally agree that cooperation could be strengthened through the enhanced and timely exchange of cyber threat information. However, a number of complex legal questions and a lack of trust among community members have discouraged sharing. This paper examines the role of CSIRTs in the emerging cyber regime complex and asks what might be driving the lack of trust and information sharing within the community. The commercialization of cyber security and threat vulnerabilities, the Internet’s development as a new power domain, the growth of the CSIRT community and the emergence of a cyber regime complex are examined as factors that are giving rise to and exacerbating existing problems around information sharing and trust.

Part of Series

Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series

The Global Commission on Internet Governance was established in January 2014 to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. The two-year project conducted and supported independent research on internet-related dimensions of global public policy, culminating in an official commission report that articulates concrete policy recommendations for the future of Internet governance.

About the Author

Samantha Bradshaw is a CIGI fellow and assistant professor in new technology and security at American University.