UNCCT Cyber challenge

At the Cyber challenge, 15 teams of young innovators presented solutions & received guidance from experts to develop creative ideas, ranging from P/CVE to cutting-edge tools. Photo: UNOCT

Member States expressed “concern at the increasing use, in a globalized society, by terrorists and their supporters, of information and communications technologies, in particular the Internet and other media, and the use of such technologies to commit, incite, recruit for, fund or plan terrorist acts”

-- Sixth review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Misuse of technological developments

The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism has several initiatives within the field of new technologies. The Cybersecurity and New Technologies programme aims to enhance capacities of Member States and private organizations in preventing and mitigating the misuse of technological developments by terrorists and violent extremists. This includes countering the threat of cyber-attacks carried out by terrorist actors against critical infrastructure, as well as developing the use of social media to collect open source information and digital evidences to counter online terrorism and violent extremism, while respecting Human Rights.

The programme has also provided expertise in international fora on terrorist uses of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and will develop further programming in this area. The project also seeks to mitigate the impact and recover and restore the targeted systems should such attacks occur.

Cybersecurity mandate

During the sixth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/72/284), Member States expressed concern at the increasing use by terrorists of information and communications technologies (ICT), in particular the internet and other media, and the use of such technologies to commit, incite, recruit for, fund or plan terrorist acts. Member States further noted the importance of cooperation among stakeholders in the implementation of the Strategy, including among Member States, international, regional and sub regional organizations, the private sector and civil society.

In resolution 2341 (2017), the Security Council Calls upon Member States “to establish or strengthen national, regional and international partnerships with stakeholders, both public and private, as appropriate, to share information and experience in order to prevent, protect, mitigate, investigate, respond to and recover from damage from terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure facilities, including through joint training, and use or establishment of relevant communication or emergency warning networks.”

Madrid guiding principles

Security Council text S/2015/939 (Madrid guiding principles) adopts a set of guiding principles to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs):

Guiding principle 25: Member States should consider reviewing national legislation to ensure that evidence collected through special investigative techniques or from countries of destination or evidence collected through ICT and social media, including through electronic surveillance, can be admitted as evidence in cases related to foreign terrorist fighters, while respecting international human rights law, including freedom of expression”.

Guiding principle 26: Member States should build ICT and forensic capacities and expertise within national law-enforcement agencies and strengthen the capacity of law-enforcement agencies to monitor social media content related to terrorism in order to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters in a manner that is compliant with the international human rights obligations of States”
Security Council resolution 2370 (2017) “urges Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons, including through information and communications technologies, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with obligations under international law, and stresses the importance of cooperation with civil society and the private sector in this endeavour, including through establishing public private partnerships”.