Kiribati National Cybersecurity Strategy

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The past twenty years has been an extraordinary time for the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) – and with the ‘mobile miracle’ we have brought the benefits of ICTs within reach of virtually all the world’s people. But I believe that the next twenty years will be even more dramatic with 200 billion devices being connected through Internet of Things by 2020 and the benefits of broadband become available to everyone, wherever they live, and whatever their circumstances.

Greater connectivity also brings with it greater risk, not least the risk of losing trust and confidence in the networks we rely on, and the risk of losing trust and confidence in our ability to communicate securely. Security is key to building the trust and confidence in the use of ICT for e-transactions. Cybersecurity continues to be a big challenge as we embark on the Internet of Things, 5G, Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence that will affect each and every aspect of our lives! In such an interconnected world a loophole anywhere in the global ICT network represents a challenge anywhere in the network. This includes emergency services; water supplies and power networks; food distribution chains; aircraft and shipping; navigation systems; industrial processes and supply chains; healthcare; public transportation; government services; and even our children’s education.

Cybersecurity is a fundamental factor in achieving socio-economic development. Yet, only seventy-six countries around the world have, publicly available, national cybersecurity strategies. It is therefore imperative to boost efforts to produce them. ITU highlights the challenges and best practices in the recently released National Cybersecurity Strategy Guide which is to instigate strategic thinking and help national leaders and policy-makers to develop, establish and implement national cybersecurity strategies. Pacific Islands Countries are considerably aware of the issues and cyber threats. Some countries have made efforts in building a National CIRT. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (United Nations Specialised Agency for Telecommunications and ICT has assisted countries in the Pacific with regard to cybersecurity. For examples, ITU conducted a Readiness Assessment on National CIRT Establishment in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

ITU in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Communications, Transport and Tourism Development, Government of Kiribati is currently assisting in drafting National Cybersecurity Strategy and Child Online Protection framework for Kiribati which takes into account the following:

  1. Assessment of the current situation of cybersecurity in Kiribati
  2. Stock taking  of the prevailing  policies and legal instruments and organizational structures if any jointly with the beneficiary country define priority areas 
  3. Identify the existing as well as potential challenges and gaps in policy and legislation to ensure building security and trust in use of ICT for citizens, organizations and country as a whole in Kiribati
  4. Making reference to the best practices in Asia-Pacific region and  countries with similar nature  as well taking into account the Cybersecurity strategy and best  practices  of ITU, develop the following:
    1. National Cybersecurity Strategy for Kiribati with implementation plan
    2. Based on the national strategy thus developed provide a structure for a comprehensive cyber law
    3. Child Online Protection framework
    4. Based on the strategy and the structure for a comprehensive cyber law, recommend the appropriate organizational structure for the implementation of the strategy and cyber law as well as COP

ITU organised consultation with various stakeholders including several ministries, mobile operators, ISPs , ANZ  and others. ITU also carried out simulation exercise led by Dr. Marco Gercke, ITU Expert, to demonstrate typical scenario when cyber-attack is launched and what decisions need to be  taken at Ministerial level to ensure safety and resiliency of critical information infrastructure. ITU also carried out another workshop on Child Online Protection sharing ITU UNICEF Guidelines which are useful for parents / educators, children, industry and policy makers / regulators.

Mr. Sameer Sharma, Senior Advisor, ITU quoted “Cybersecurity is a foundational element underpinning the achievement of socio-economic objectives of modern economies. The National Cybersecurity Strategy for Kiribati can serve as a useful tool to all stakeholders, including national policy-makers, legislators and regulators, with cybersecurity responsibilities that would ensure clear measures in creating environment of safe and secure access to ICTs by citizens of Kiribati in general and with Child On Line Protection guideline for protecting children in particular creating responsible digital citizens in Kiribati”.

Mrs. Ema Nauan, Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications, Transport and Tourism Development, Government of Kiribati, said that the government has given high priority for cybersecurity especially National Cybersecurity Strategy and Child On Line Protection to ensure safety of security just before the submarine cable is due to land in Kiribati in 2019.