New ITU study estimates US$ 428 billion are needed to connect the remaining 3 billion people to the Internet by 2030
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published Connecting Humanity - Assessing investment needs of connecting humanity to the Internet by 2030, a comprehensive new study that estimates the investment needed to achieve universal, affordable broadband connectivity for all humanity by the end of this decade.
Connecting Humanity posits that nearly US$ 428 billion is required to connect the remaining 3 billion people aged ten years and above to broadband Internet by 2030. It is an ambitious goal and a major infrastructure investment challenge.
"Meeting the investment necessary to bring every person online by the end of this decade will require an unprecedented and concerted effort from the public and private sectors," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "The new Connecting Humanity study led by ITU is the much-needed roadmap that will guide decision-makers on the journey towards accessible, affordable, reliable, and safe digital technologies and services for all."
The study examines costs associated with infrastructure needs, enabling policy and regulatory frameworks, and basic digital skills and local content at both the global and regional levels, as well as how to mobilize the unprecedented levels of financing needed to extend networks to unserved communities.
Over the past several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed different types of inequalities within and across countries and regions, including those related to quality of access, affordability and use of the Internet.
With so many essential services pushed online, there is a real and present danger that those without broadband Internet access could be left ever further behind. Hence assessing investment requirements to reach affordable universal connectivity is important to any country concerned with their ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to ITU, over 12% of the global unconnected population live in remote, rural locations where traditional networks are not easily accessible, most of them in Africa and South Asia. This connectivity gap is exacerbated by the gender digital divide. Across the globe, more men than women use the Internet: only 48% of women as opposed to 58% of men.
Whereas in some regions bridging the connectivity gap predominantly means upgrading existing coverage and capacity sites, nearly half of the required radio access network (RAN) infrastructure investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia/Pacific will be greenfield, the new study says.
"While this is an ambitious aim, it is in no way an unachievable one," said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. "It is my hope that, as part of ITU's Connect 2030 Agenda efforts, this major new ITU assessment will provide clear, coherent evidence-based guidance for countries that will help accelerate efforts to reach unconnected communities, so that equality of opportunity is finally within reach of all."
Broadband Commission calls on world leaders to prioritize universal connectivity as fundamental to sustainable development & global recovery
Universal broadband access is the vital catalyst needed to drive global economic recovery and accelerate lacklustre progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to a new report released by the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly underscored humanity's growing reliance on digital networks for business continuity, employment, education, commerce, banking, healthcare, and a whole host of other essential services. Yet today, almost half the global population has still never accessed the internet, and hundreds of millions more struggle with slow, costly and unreliable connections, often through remote locations like internet cafés.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development's 2020 State of Broadband report, released at the Commission's 10th anniversary meeting earlier today, includes a rallying call to world leaders and heads of industry to place universal broadband connectivity at the very forefront of global recovery and sustainable development efforts.
The State of Broadband 2020: Tackling Digital Inequalities, A Decade for Action, highlights stark disparities in access to high-speed connectivity that have prevented billions of adults and children from benefiting from remote working, learning and communication. The report also takes stock of progress made in expanding access to and adoption of broadband infrastructure and services, and achieving the Commission's seven 2025 advocacy targets.
Paul Kagame, Co-Chair of the Broadband Commission and President of Rwanda said: "The first decade of the Broadband Commission has made a real impact by highlighting the transformational power of universal access to high-speed internet connectivity and smartphones. Ideas that seemed futuristic ten years ago, are now mainstream. The next decade will be about using digital tools to speed up the recovery from the Covid pandemic and make up some of the lost ground on the SDGs."
Carlos Slim Helú, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation and Co-Chair of the Broadband Commission, said: “Digital technologies are offering services that are creating big changes. Regulators and governments should be aware of the vital importance for society and development that telecom networks play, and that high taxes, spectrum charges and regulation are barriers to digital inclusion. Today our challenge is to look for universal connectivity and to make it available for countries and people. Broadband Connectivity is the bridge to move to economic development and welfare."
“Leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline, now more than ever before," said Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT), and Co-Vice Chair of the Commission. “Increasing and coordinating ICT infrastructure investments will be instrumental, not only in connecting the 3.6 billion people still offline, but also in driving the development of new technologies central to the digital economy."
“Digital technology could be the tool we need for human-centred emancipation. But to play this role, it needs our expertise and cooperation because we need to pool all of our resources if we are to rise to the challenge of connectivity and competencies," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “In my view, this is the significance of the two Working Groups co-chaired by UNESCO. These documents published today focus on two crucial questions: school connectivity and the promotion of reliable, quality information."
According to latest ITU data, overall global Internet user penetration stands at 53.6%. That figure drops to 47% in developing countries, and to just 19.1% in the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs), falling well below the Broadband Commission's advocacy Target 3 of broadband Internet user penetration of 75% worldwide, 65% in developing countries and 35% in LDCs by 2025.
The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations arm that regulates global shipping, said its London headquarters has been hit by a cyberattack that brought down its website and internal web-based services.
The incident disclosed a security breach that the agency categorized as a 'sophisticated cyber-attack' against its IT systems, was discovered and impacted the IMO public website and other web-based services, the UN agency said in a press release.
The hack was the latest in what appear to be a increasing number of cyberattacks on companies and organizations around the world this year. It follows a malware attack that hit containership company CMA CGM SA last weekend, crippling the French carrier’s booking and electronic communications network.
“The interruption of web-based services was caused by a sophisticated cyber-attack against the Organization’s IT systems that overcame robust security measures in place.” continues the statement.
IMO did not share technical details about the attack, the Secretariat is working with international security experts to identify the source of the attack, and further enhance the security of its infrastructure.
It is unclear if the IMO was hit by ransomware, a website defacement, or its website was used for a watering hole attack, a type of attack where hackers host malicious code on the IMO website in an attempt to trick IMO members and visitors into downloading and infecting themselves with malware.
ENISA, the EU Agency for cybersecurity, held a workshop to validate the results of the study for the creation of a national capabilities assessment framework together with the EU Member States and related stakeholders. By assessing their National Cybersecurity Strategy objectives both at strategic and at operational level, Member States will be able to possibly enhance existing and build new cybersecurity capabilities. The purpose of the framework is to help Member States perform a self-assessment of their level of maturity. Other benefits include:
- Identification of elements missing within the strategy;
- Establish a history of lessons learned;
- Referencing best practices;
- Generate credibility and showing transparency for the public, National and international stakeholders and partners.
Sixty participants coming from academia, EU institutions, National Authorities, Ministries, and CSIRTs attended the online workshop. They were all actively engaged in the assessment and validation of the proposed report, which will be published later.
Members of the Hellenic Ministry of Digital Governance and of the Ministry of Justice and Security in the Netherlands also intervened. Each of them gave a short presentation on the recent NCSS efforts conducted in Greece and in the Netherlands respectively. They also shared the main challenges they face as well as good practices and lessons learned.
The representatives identified the following challenges and lessons learned:
- Most resources tend to be dedicated to the planning and implementation phase. While obviously important, this may lead to a lack of coordination and organisation in the monitoring and evaluation phase of the strategy.
- The strategy should provide explicit ownership and accountability for the measures identified to reach the objectives. This is not currently the case.
- Clarifying relations between objectives, measures, resources and expected outputs of the next national strategy will be essential in order to re-structure the policy theory.
- Cybersecurity is a domain where information is highly confidential and not easily distributed. This is why it is crucial for EU Member States to have common tools and processes based on the shared experience.
Background on National Cybersecurity Strategies
In line with its strategic objectives, the European Agency for Cybersecurity, (ENISA) supports the efforts of Member States in the area of NCSS by:
- Supporting cybersecurity as an integral part of national policies through the development of guidelines on the NCSS lifecycle and through analysis of existing strategies to outline good practices. The Good Practice Guide on NCSS published in 2016 is one of them.
- Supports cutting-edge competencies and capabilities through performing deep dives on specific national strategic objectives, such as the publication on the Good practices in Innovation. This can also be done by developing online tools to support the uptake of lessons learned and good practices. Examples of such tools are the NCSS evaluation tool and the NCSS Interactive Map.
- Empowering and engaging Member States through community building by maintaining an experts group on NCSS and by fostering cooperation and exchange of good practices between MS. Publications on effective collaborative models for PPPs and ISACs are good examples of such effort.
Europol’s 2020 cybercrime report updates on the latest trends and the current impact of cybercrime within the EU and beyond.
So much has changed since Europol published last year’s Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA). The global COVID-19 pandemic that hit every corner of the world forced us to reimagine our societies and reinvent the way we work and live. During the lockdown, we turned to the internet for a sense of normality: shopping, working and learning online at a scale never seen before. It is in this new normal that Europol publishes its 7th annual IOCTA. The IOCTA seeks to map the cybercrime threat landscape and understand how law enforcement responds to it. Although the COVID-19 crisis showed us how criminals actively take advantage of society at its most vulnerable, this opportunistic behaviour of criminals should not overshadow the overall threat landscape. In many cases, COVID-19 has enhanced existing problems.
Social engineering and phishing remain an effective threat to enable other types of cybercrime. Criminals use innovative methods to increase the volume and sophistication of their attacks, and inexperienced cybercriminals can carry out phishing campaigns more easily through crime as-a-service. Criminals quickly exploited the pandemic to attack vulnerable people; phishing, online scams and the spread of fake news became an ideal strategy for cybercriminals seeking to sell items they claim will prevent or cure COVID-19.
Encryption continues to be a clear feature of an increasing number of services and tools. One of the principal challenges for law enforcement is how to access and gather relevant data for criminal investigations. The value of being able to access data of criminal communication on an encrypted network is perhaps the most effective illustration of how encrypted data can provide law enforcement with crucial leads beyond the area of cybercrime.
MALWARE REIGNS SUPREME
Ransomware attacks have become more sophisticated, targeting specific organisations in the public and private sector through victim reconnaissance. While the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an increase in cybercrime, ransomware attacks were targeting the healthcare industry long before the crisis. Moreover, criminals have included another layer to their ransomware attacks by threatening to auction off the comprised data, increasing the pressure on the victims to pay the ransom. Advanced forms of malware are a top threat in the EU: criminals have transformed some traditional banking Trojans into modular malware to cover more PC digital fingerprints, which are later sold for different needs.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE MATERIAL CONTINUES TO INCREASE
The main threats related to online child abuse exploitation have remained stable in recent years, however detection of online child sexual abuse material saw a sharp spike at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis. Offenders keep using a number of ways to hide this horrifying crime, such as P2P networks, social networking platforms and using encrypted communications applications. Dark web communities and forums are meeting places where participation is structured with affiliation rules to promote individuals based on their contribution to the community, which they do by recording and posting their abuse of children, encouraging others to do the same. Livestream of child abuse continues to increase, becoming even more popular than usual during the COVID-19 crisis when travel restrictions prevented offenders from physically abusing children. In some cases, video chat applications in payment systems are used which becomes one of the key challenges for law enforcement as this material is not recorded.
PAYMENT FRAUD: SIM SWAPPING A NEW TREND
SIM swapping, which allows perpetrators to take over accounts, is one of the new trends in this year’s IOCTA. As a type of account takeover, SIM swapping provides criminals access to sensitive user accounts. Criminals fraudulently swap or port victims’ SIMs to one in the criminals’ possession in order to intercept the one-time password step of the authentication process.
CRIMINAL ABUSE OF THE DARK WEB
In 2019 and early 2020 there was a high level of volatility on the dark web. The lifecycle of dark web market places has shortened and there is no clear dominant market that has risen over the past year. Tor remains the preferred infrastructure, however criminals have started to use other privacy-focused, decentralised marketplace platforms to sell their illegal goods. Although this is not a new phenomenon, these sorts of platforms have started to increase over the last year. OpenBazaar is noteworthy, as certain threats have emerged on the platform over the past year such as COVID-19-related items during the pandemic.