KYIV, UKRAINE – The inaugural Global Cybersecurity Summit (GCS17) finished today in Kyiv, Ukraine, with conversation topics ranging from best consumer practices to encryption and artificial intelligence, and culminating with election security around the world and a hard-hitting keynote by Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director of Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Defense and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber. The two-day summit included panels, workshops, and keynotes about major threats and solutions in a country neighboring - and repeatedly targeted by - one of the world's top cyber-aggressors.
"Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was the most widespread and significant foreign influence campaign in our history," said Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director of Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Defense and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber. "The perception that Russia’s actions achieved unprecedented success increases the likelihood that the United States and other countries will experience more serious attacks in the coming years."
Ukraine has been a virtual testing ground for Russian election meddling and cyber offenses, with major attacks crippling their electronic voting system and power grid in the past three years alone. Matt Olsen, President of IronNet Cybersecurity and Former General Counsel of the U.S. National Security Agency, called the hacks in the United States a "wake-up call." Other panels of the day delved into the balance of privacy/security and encryption, the hype versus the reality of AI, and easy-to-implement security measures.
"The protection of, and even support for, encryption is necessary to protect the free exercise of human rights around the world, not to mention the global economy and the Internet itself," said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. and Global Policy Manager at Access Now. "Unfortunately, instead of promoting the use and development of encryption, governments around the world have worked separately and in partnership to create a narrative that undermines its essential functions. It is essential that we reverse course and put these 'crypto wars' to bed permanently so stakeholders can turn to other increasingly important questions about the future of the internet."