Representatives of 60 nations are gathering in London to discuss how to tackle the rising threat from cybersecurity attacks. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague convened the London Conference on Cyberspace, and urged a "global co-ordinated response" on policy.
"We want to widen the pool of nations and cyberusers that agree with us about the need for norms of behaviour, and who want to seek a future cyberspace based on opportunity, freedom, innovation, human rights and partnership, between government, civil society and the private sector," he said.
Baroness Neville-Jones, the prime minister's special representative to business on cybersecurity, said Russia and China - who are both attending the conference - were some of the worst culprits involved in cyber-attacks.
Britain said it wanted to develop a set of international "rules of the road", establishing "norms of acceptable behaviour" in cyberspace, while stopping short of a full treaty advocated by some countries.
Mr Hague said a "collective endeavour" was needed to tap into the "enormous potential" of cyberspace. "How to ensure we can all reap the benefits of a safe and secure cyberspace for generations to come is one of the greatest challenges we face," said Mr Hague.
"The ideas and proposals we hope to emerge from the conference will develop into the 'London Agenda' - an inclusive and focused approach to help us realise the enormous potential cyberspace offers for a more prosperous, safe and open networked world."
Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said there had been a "great growth" in cybercrime over the past six years. As many as 5% of PCs are infected with malware - short for malicious software - Prof Anderson said, and there was a one in 20 risk that any given computer was sending spam without the owner's knowledge.