31 Companies Sign ‘Digital Geneva Accord'

article by Christina Williams
May 03, 2018
Several tech companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, have announced that they will not support any government that uses cyber attacks against civilians and enterprises.

The tech giants have committed themselves to preventing cyber attacks against governments around the world. American and British officials have already issued a warning concerning cyber attacks in Russia. Microsoft President, Brad Smith, has been arguing for a ‘digital Geneva Convention, that would create rules for the cyberworld like the Convention does in the physical world.

Smith believes that the United States companies should act as respond quickly when cyber crimes affect their customers.

“This has become a much bigger problem, and I think what we have learned in the past few years is that we need to work together in much bigger ways,” Smith said. “We need to approach this in a principled way, and if we expect to get governments to do that, we have to start with some principles ourselves.”

One of the companies working against cyber attacks is Microsoft. The tech giant had a key role in ending the WannaCry attack last year. The attack, which targeted British’s health care system, was later planned on North Korea. Other attacks, like NotPetya, have also crippled government systems.

However, these attacks are still not enough to for governments to fully embrace the proposed tech accord principles. Many officials believe that the agreement could lead to hidden efforts surrounding the development of cyberweapons. Last year, Russia gained information on the National Security Agency’s cyber weapons by manipulating software created by Kaspersky. Kaspersky has denied involvement in the breach. However, the Russian firm’s products were banned throughout the United States to prevent future cyber attacks. Kaspersky did not sign the accord.

Cisco, on the other hand, was one the first companies to sign. The company’s general counsel, Mark Chandler, said: “We need to say we will not be part of any effort that will undermine the security of the web, or undermine those who depend on it — our customers.”

Other companies, that signed the accord, were Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Symantec, FireEye, Oracle, Nokia, and Telefónica. and Juniper Networks. Google, Amazon, and Apple did not sign. There were no Chinese or Russian companies that joined the accord.

Members of the accord have promised to “ protect against tampering with and exploitation of technology products and services during their development, design, distribution, and use.”

Officials from Microsoft have explained the accord to the Trump administration. The administration did not have any objections.


Source: The New York Times