Statement by Ambassador Muhammad A. Muhith, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the United Security Council Arria-formula meeting on: The responsibility and responsiveness of States to cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, Trusteeship Council on 25 May 2023

Distinguished Co-chairs,

I thank the Permanent Missions of Albania and United States for organizing this meeting. I also thank the briefers for their valuable insights on this important topic.

Let me begin by sharing our own experience of devastating cyber-attack in 2016, when more than US$ 80 million from Bangladesh Central Bank was siphoned by hackers. Eventually, a large portion of the money reportedly reached to another country’s casino system through its banking channel. The breach of the supposedly secure global money transfer system by hackers is deeply concerning.

The 2023 Global Cybersecurity Outlook report reveals that 93 percent of participants anticipate a “catastrophic” cyber security event in the next two years. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence further amplify these threats.



It is projected that by 2025, cybercrime will cost the global economy a staggering $10.5 trillion annually. These figures underscore the urgent and significant nature of the issue.

To answer some of your guiding questions let me highlight the followings:

First, cybercrime and cybersecurity rank as the 8th most severe risks according to Global Risks Report 2023, threatening international peace and security. This global threat necessitates a coordinated and enhanced response.

Therefore, the Council can play a prudent role in countering this urgent challenge by promoting international norms, fostering trust between states, and facilitating dialogue and cooperation to prevent conflicts arising from malicious use of ICT.

Second, addressing cyberattacks on critical infrastructure requires a collaborative approach involving states, public and private entities, and international organizations. Public-private partnerships are crucial in developing effective strategies to combat cyber threats and protect critical infrastructure.

In this regard, we call for a new social contract for the digital age that redefines the relationship between public and private sectors and establishes new obligations. Private sector firms must prioritize security and resilience in their hardware manufacturing and software development, while the government should provide support.

Third, Bangladesh emphasizes the applicability of international law, including the UN Charter, to maintain peace, stability, and an open, secure, stable, accessible, and peaceful ICT environment. However, we acknowledge existing legal gaps, such as the attribution of cyberattacks, State responsibility threshold, and the use of force in cyberspace. The Council could complement the work of GGEs and OEWG on ICT by enhancing understanding of international law in cyberspace.

Fourth, Closing the Skill Gap demands collective action, particularly in the global south. This includes enhancing digital literacy, technical skills, promoting cybersecurity education, and fostering international cooperation. The Council could play a vital role in promoting confidence building measures and effective information sharing to mitigate cyber threats.

Finally, Bangladesh emphasizes a comprehensive approach to safeguard critical infrastructure and address evolving cyber threats. We have implemented the Bangladesh Cybersecurity Strategy 2021-2025; and achieved the 11th rank in the Asia Pacific Digital Security Index. However, more is needed.

We seek robust international cooperation, harnessing digital technology, and upholding international law for a safer and resilient digital world.

I thank you.