Singapore: The United States and Britain
called on Saturday for international cooperation against threats to
cyber security following a fresh spate of attacks on
government and corporate targets.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and British Defence
Secretary Liam Fox underscored the urgency of the problem at
an Asia-Pacific security forum in Singapore also attended by
their Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie.
China denies being the source of attacks on US
security systems and the two western officials deliberately
avoided singling out Beijing.
Liang is scheduled to address the Singapore conference
Gates said "we take the cyber threat very seriously
and we see it from a variety of sources, not just one or
Fox said London will host an international conference
on the "war of the invisible enemy" later this year.
"The effect on the economies of this region of a
well-planned and well-resourced cyber attack on transnational
commercial networks and institutions would be catastrophic,
and would impact on us all," he said.
"Cyber attacks are already happening in large numbers
and on a regular basis ... which is why we want to convene a
proper international conference to see how we can deal with
The London talks will include discussions on a
potential legal framework, Fox said.
Just days before the Singapore forum, Internet giant
Google said a cyber spying campaign originating in China had
targeted Gmail accounts of senior US officials, military
personnel, journalists and Chinese political activists.
China said Thursday it was "unacceptable" to blame it
for the incidents.
Gates said "serious international tensions" could be
avoided if there were rules "that let people know what kinds
of acts are acceptable, what kinds of acts are not, and what
kinds of acts may in fact be an act of war."