Defense Technology

State Department Coalition to Deter State-Backed Malicious Activity

State Department
NATO member country flags are seen outside NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The State Department is developing a coalition of allies in cyberspace that it hopes can deter state-backed malicious activity, according to a top-notch diplomat.

Rob Strayer, the deputy assistant secretary for cyber and international communications in the State Department, told Fifth Domain the agency is intending to develop a voluntary framework of countries how the United States can work with on cyber issues.

The plan is for that alliance to impose consequences after malicious events on the net. Strayer said that though there are norms in cyberspace, they don’t enforce themselves.

With the coalition of like-minded states online, the State Department can coordinate legal, diplomatic, and attribution which has a range of countries. One model may be the attribution from the WannaCry and NotPetya cyberattacks, that the U.S. blamed on foreign countries in collaboration with other nations.

Strayer said the program’s initial seeds were planted after having a 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump on cybersecurity.

He failed to disclose which countries will be involved or once the digital alliance could be complete.

Experts have suggested a “proliferation security initiative” could be a model based on how to construct rules online. In general, a proliferation security initiative targets outlawing actions and coordinating responses among allies. The initiative was first launched in 2002 and employed to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

While the initiative appears to have some similarities with the State Department’s plan, Strayer said you will find key differences and said who’s cannot be defined as a proliferation security model.

Still, experts say the proliferation security model may have benefits on the net.

The plan “provides a potentially novel way to encourage collective action without necessitating legally binding commitments or changes to extant laws and norms,” said a January paper from Temple and Columbia Universities.

We believe the proliferation initiative been specifically criticized if you are “a tool of U.S. hegemony” and may falter because of countries’ varying legal frameworks.

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