While the EU has a comprehensive response to advanced cyber attacks, “perhaps the most European aspect of its toolbox is cyber diplomacy” Tania Latici, Policy analyst at the European Parliament, said.
As hackers’ capabilities improve, the strategic advantage enjoyed by Western countries in recent decades is being eroded. Cyber capabilities, in particular, are considered to have altered the fabric of diplomacy and deterrence in international relations.
Cyber diplomacy aims to maintain and acquire multilateral agreements between like-minded countries on cyber norms, state and non-state behavior in cyberspace, and an effective global digital governance worldwide.
There are disturbing trends in the global ICT environment, including a dramatic increase in incidents involving the malicious use of ICTs by State and non-State actors. These trends create risks for all States, and the misuse of ICTs may harm international peace and security.
Disruptive technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) pose serious risks for cyber defenses. Indeed, cyberattacks are likely to increase in complexity and make attribution even more problematic.
“Burning issues demanding the international community’s attention include an emerging digital arms race and the need to regulate dual-use export control regimes and clarify the rules of engagement in cyber warfare,” Latici said.
“The EU’s cyber diplomacy toolbox and its bi- and multilateral engagements are already contributing to a safer and more principled cyberspace,” she added. “Its effectiveness however hinges on genuine European and global cooperation for the common cyber good. Ultimately, the EU’s ambition to become more capable, by becoming ‘strategically autonomous’ or ‘technologically sovereign’, also rests on credible cyber defence and diplomacy”.