Secure, resilient and responsible digital infrastructure

Organised by the Kosciuszko Institute, Kraków

Digital infrastructure has become both a great enabler and a bottle-neck of the global economy and the international society. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitalization resulting in a pressing need to develop more infrastructure for connectivity. This is particularly true in populous and rapidly digitizing regions such as Asia, where infrastructure needs are estimated to exceed 1.5$ trillion per year. However, the expansion of digital connectivity raises the level of risks associated with malicious and criminal uses of digital technologies that threaten the global economy, international security, social well-being and democracy.

The global number of cyber incidents continued to grow throughout 2021 with ransomware, supply-chain and state-sponsored attacks emerging as the most dominant threats in cyberspace. Being a leading economic powerhouse of the world, Asia-Pacific is also the most targeted region in the world in terms of ransomware and state-sponsored attacks, but the trend is the same also in Europe. As the necessity to further expand and deepen connectivity will only become more urgent, stakeholders must ensure that the infrastructure they build is resilient against multiple forms of interference conducted both by criminal groups and state or state-sponsored actors, including attacks against the technology in use itself.

Partners in Europe and Asia share similar concerns and challenges regarding the development of digital infrastructure. These include the questions of cost effectiveness, security and trustworthiness of different technology and equipment solutions available. The EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific presented in 2021 underlines combatting cybercrime, cybersecurity capacity building and increasing cyber resilience as the EU’s aims in the region. The EU is also willing to cooperate and support secure infrastructure development with foreign partners under its Global Gateway scheme. How can partners in Asia and Europe work together to ensure the development of responsible and resilient connectivity infrastructure? Can European and Asian stakeholders embed security-by-design as a crucial requirement guiding digital infrastructure development? What  is the role of the private sector and of financial & development institutions in strengthening the security of connectivity infrastructure beyond its borders?