VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, the four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, began a meeting yesterday in Vientiane to reach a consensus on cybersecurity norms, strengthen operational links and build capabilities.
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) are participating in a two-day 'Workshop on International Cyber Security Policy and Diplomacy for CLMV Countries' launched yesterday with support from the information and communications technology (ICT) for Peace Foundation of Switzerland.
Cybersecurity cooperation will help member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to protect critical information infrastructure, such as the optical fibre cable backbone and the global interbank payments network. It will also support the growth of the Asean community.
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Thansamay Kommasith and President of the ICT for Peace Foundation Daniel Stauffacher are chairing the workshop.
At the opening yesterday, Thansamay said ICT holds significance for Laos, as the government is committed to developing and improving the living standards of its people by transforming the country from a landlocked to land-linked nation.
“Authorities will utilise ICT to create a favourable business and investment climate where businesses can grow by leveraging ICT. We will make ICT work to support our development and empowerment,” he said.
While ICT brings several new opportunities, it also opens up new vulnerabilities. Globally, cyber threats and attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, with more severe consequences.
Thansamay said Laos was committed to fulfilling its international obligations in order to address these global challenges.
“We are also willing to contribute to the global cybersecurity dialogue, with our experience and expertise, and create new norms of responsible state behaviour and confidence-building measures in cyberspace. We are committed to building a safe and secure ICT infrastructure and services in Laos,” he added.
The government has recently upgraded the Lao Computer Emergency Response Team (Lao CERT) to the department level to coordinate national efforts in cybersecurity, and the government recognises Lao CERT’s significant role in combating cyber threats.
“Lao CERT is improving its capacity building for formulating a national cybersecurity policy and strategy, which we hope to launch next year,” Thansamay said.
Lao CERT engages with its counterparts regionally and globally, including Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and the Asia Pacific CERT.
The key concerns for Laos remain human resource development, resilient infrastructure, general awareness and efficient collaboration. Laos is working with the governments of other countries to block attacks, shut down networks and to learn good practices from advanced nations.