German Statement during UN Security Council United Nations Security Council High Level Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security – Addressing Evolving Threats in Cyberspace”, 20 June 2024

Addressing Evolving Threats in Cyberspace

Addressing Evolving Threats in Cyberspace, © GermanyUN

20.06.2024 - Speech

Statement delivered by Tobias Lindner, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office.

Mister President,

Germany thanks the Republic of Korea for its leadership role in bringing cyber security issues to the attention of the Security. I would also like to thank the Secretary General and all briefers for their enlightening contributions.

The international community is exposed to a growing number of both state sponsored and private malicious cyber activity incidents. These incidents have a serious impact on the maintenance of international peace and security.

Severe attacks by cybercriminals including ransomware attacks have shown that these attacks have the potential to threaten the stability of state institutions. They have affected entire societies.

A recent trend is the emergence of hacktivist groups in the theatre of international conflicts, who attack key critical infrastructure targets. This has eroded trust in the delivery of public services and spread fear among civilians.

The increasing cooperation of a number of state actorswith private IT-companies, hacktivist groups and cyber criminals has further exacerbated existing risks.

All these trends serve as threat multipliers, given that the cyber domain extends conventional battlefields far into the civilian domain.

In light of this dramatically evolving threat landscape, Germany proposes the following four areas where the UN Security Council should become active:

First, we see an important role for the Security Council in assessing the threat: both following Article 34 of the UN Charter which gives the Security Council the authority to investigate any situation that might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute; and in a more general sense, in the sense that the Council should consider and analyze more deeply the risks emanating from cyber-attacks for international peace and security.

Secondly, the Security Council has an important dispute resolution role, based on the full applicability of the UN Charter to cyber space,.

Thirdly, we see potential for the Security Council to have a strong trust- and norm-building role By putting international cyber conflicts on its agenda, by investigating situations of cyber conflict or through facilitating their peaceful settlement the Council will contribute to building the evolving framework of responsible state behavior in cyber space. This must be based on international law and complemented by voluntary UN norms and confidence building measures.

Finally, Germany would welcome efforts by the Security Council to mainstream cybersecurity threats into its agenda. This should encompass protecting the United Nations from being the target of malicious cyber attacks, in particular their presence in the field such as peacekeeping operations,

In closing, I would like to stress that Germany will continue to contribute to the international discussion on this issue. To highlight just one example: Last year, we launched a global dialogue format on Cyber in Conflict. It seeks to specifically address the increased risks to civilians posed by the use of cyber tools in international conflict, to raise awareness and to formulate mitigation options. The next event in this series will be held here at German House in New York on 8 July of this year in cooperation with Japan, Senegal and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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