Members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have said they need help designing a digital emblem to let the military and hackers know they have infiltrated the computer systems of medical facilities or Red Cross offices.The Geneva-based humanitarian organization called on governments, Red Cross/Red Crescent societies and IT professionals to work together to develop ways to protect medical and humanitarian organizations from cyberattacks during armed conflicts.
According to committee members, something similar should exist on the Internet.
The organization said that in order to bring the digital emblem project to life, countries around the world will need to agree on its use and make it part of international humanitarian law along with existing emblems. The ICRC hopes that the digital emblem will have the same weight as the red cross on the roof of a real hospital.
According to the ICRC, the emblem can now be implemented in three ways:
- DNS-based emblem – text added to the domain name (eg www.hospital.emblem);
- An IP-based badge, which must be the sequence of numbers in the protected organization’s IP address;
- Through the ADEM (Authenticated Digital Emblem) system, which uses certificate chains to indicate that an organization is under the protection of the Red Cross.
The ICRC itself was the victim of a massive cyberattack last January, in which hackers captured the data of more than half a million highly vulnerable individuals, including conflict fugitives, detained persons and migrants.
ICRC director-general Robert Mardini said “the leak has underscored the urgency of our work in this area.”
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