Cyber-attacks threaten security, peace and stability, Qatar said on Saturday.

This came in a statement by Qatar's Permanent Representative to the United Nations HE Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani on the third anniversary of the cybercrime that targeted the Qatar News Agency on May 23, 2017, committed a few days before the imposition of an unjust and unlawful blockade against Qatar on June 5, 2017.

HE Sheikha Alya was speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council on "cyber stability, conflict prevention and capacity building", organised by Estonia, the current chair of the Council, in co-operation with Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Kenya.

Sheikha Alya said cyber attacks are a major threat, especially when targeting sensitive digital services.

"In our region, we are currently witnessing a similar threat that came in the wake of the cyber-attack, which targeted an important government institution in my country," referring to the hacking of QNA sponsored by some countries, through which fabricated statements were attributed to the leadership of the State of Qatar.

Sheikha Alya said the repercussions of the blockade continue to affect the security and stability of the region, undermine opportunities for co-operation and violate human rights and fundamental freedoms of thousands of people in Qatar and other countries in the region.

She underlined the need to examine the implications of misusing cyberspace, and called for collective steps to assess existing and potential threats and address them, strengthen the regional and international security environment against technology misuse, and continue to improve states' responsible behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security.

HE Sheikha Alya stressed attaching the importance of applying international laws to countries' use of information and communications technology.

She also stressed the need to consider adopting a binding international instrument to maintain information security, as well as standards, rules and principles for responsible behaviour in the use of information and communication technologies in order to reduce future risks to international peace, security and stability.

Qatar's Permanent Representative to the United Nations added that there is a need to develop regional and national strategies that are compatible with the principles of international co-operation and include the protection of vital information and communication infrastructures, with a focus on the use of modern technologies for peaceful purposes.

She also called for creating an open, safe and accessible technological environment for all; maintaining the free flow of information; and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Sheikha Alya said Qatar is taking a range of measures to harness the latest technologies at various levels to maintain information security, and follows a comprehensive approach guided by relevant international initiatives.

She reiterated Qatar's keenness to co-operate at the international level and under the umbrella of the United Nations to ensure that the vast cyberspace is harnessed for the benefit of humanity and not against it.

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