Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Shane Dixon at Cyberint Conference “Importance of Romania-U.S. Cooperation in Cybersecurity”

October 20, 2022, 10:00 A.M.
Diplomatic Club, Bucharest

Thank you, Mr. Rog, for the kind introduction. Good morning everyone, it is a pleasure to be here with you all.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to join this impressive group of cybersecurity leaders and innovators from across both the public and private sectors. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to CYBERINT for convening the sixth iteration of this integral conference, and to the sponsors which help make it possible.

In these trying times, we should all be aware and grateful that the Strategic Partnership between our two nations has never been stronger. From law enforcement to national defense to economic development the United States continues to be impressed by Romania’s development into an ever stronger and clearer regional and European leader. This year’s conference bears testimony to the importance of our continued cooperation on cybersecurity issues, and I applaud Romania for its efforts to advance its capabilities and leadership in this profoundly important domain.

Russia’s savage and illegal war in Ukraine and its bellicose cyberattacks against Romania and other regional allies demonstrate the critical importance of this issue and underscore the necessity of international partnerships in combating malicious actors in cyberspace. Our adversaries deploy ever-more-sophisticated threats against our critical infrastructure, our economy, and our citizens. U.S. foreign policy on this matter is clear: together with our international partners, the United States will promote responsible state behavior in cyberspace. When states fail to live up to those standards, we will hold them accountable. When we do this together with steadfast Allies like Romania, we strengthen our message and raise the cost to malign cyber actors, including ever-higher threats of prosecution.

The United States is committed to expanding international engagement to promote its vision of an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet and a stable cyberspace. Four successive U.S. presidential administrations have

elevated cyber issues as part of their national security priorities. We want to build and sustain an environment in which norms of responsible behavior guide state actions and attributing and deterring unacceptable behaviors in cyberspace. During the 2021 Global Emerging Technology conference, Secretary Blinken stated, “we’re weaving cyber and technology diplomacy into our work across the board. Nothing is more consequential to our competitiveness, to our security, and ultimately, to our democracy.”

In April, the U.S. Department of State took a huge step forward in promoting cybersecurity through the establishment of a new bureau – the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP.) This bureau focuses on international cyberspace security, international information and communications policy, and digital freedom. The CDP now leads and coordinates the Department’s work on cyberspace and digital diplomacy to encourage responsible state behavior in cyberspace and advance policies that protect the integrity and security of the infrastructure of the Internet, serve U.S. interests, promote competitiveness, and uphold democratic values. The bureau addresses the national security challenges, economic opportunities, and challenges presented by cyberspace, digital technologies, and digital policy, and it promotes standards and norms that are fair, transparent, and support our values and interests.

This year, our Embassy has worked with Romania on several cybersecurity outreach events, covering such topics as critical infrastructure security, strategic resilience, cyber diplomacy, cyber hygiene, and 5G network security. We continue to work closely with the Ministry of National Defense to support the development of the Romanian Military Cyber Command and we have supported Romanian officials in attending training on international cyber law and cybersecurity strategy at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany. These activities are just a snapshot of our close and continuing partnership on this critical issue.

We congratulate Romania for hosting the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2022 Plenipotentiary Conference, and for Romania’s re-election to the ITU Council. Through venues such as these, we can advance our common view of a multi-stake-holder Internet governance model and cyber safeguards. The establishment of the European Cybersecurity Competence Center in Bucharest also positions Romania to be a regional leader on cyber research, incident response, and workforce management. Moreover, Romania’s participation in the Counter Ransomware Initiative Summit in

Washington next month will contribute to policy discussions on resilience, disruption, countering illicit financing, and public private partnerships. The scourge of ransomware is increasing and, while much work remains to be done, we have taken important steps together to collectively counter this type of attack.

As we face ever-new threats to our digital-enabled economy, our cooperation will continue to evolve. Cybersecurity is no longer the sole domain of technical experts—it requires a cross-cutting, whole-of-government effort and active collaboration with the private sector. Romania’s strong tradition of tech innovation and international cyber cooperation are force multipliers. We stand with Romania to deter cyber threats and secure our shared digital future.

With that, I will close.

Thank you very much.