Technology companies are joining hands to stop supporting nation states in launching cyberattacks or starting a cyberwar. Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco, HP, and 30 other industry leaders have signed a pledge called the Cybersecurity Tech Accord.
"The devastating attacks from the past year demonstrate that cybersecurity is not just about what any single company can do but also about what we can all do together," Microsoft's President Brad Smith said. "This tech sector accord will help us take a principled path towards more effective steps to work together and defend customers around the world."
"The real world consequences of cyber threats have been repeatedly proven," Kevin Simzer of Trend Micro said. "As an industry, we must band together to fight cybercriminals and stop future attacks from causing even more damage."
The Cybersecurity Tech Accord focuses on four key areas
"We will strive to protect all our users and customers from cyberattacks – whether an individual, organization or government – irrespective of their technical acumen, culture or location, or the motives of the attacker, whether criminal or geopolitical," the accord reads. "We will protect against tampering with and exploitation of technology products and services during their development, design, distribution and use."
We will not help governments launch cyberattacks against innocent citizens and enterprises from anywhere.
The Cybersecurity Tech Accord focuses on four areas:
- Stronger defense against cyberwar: "we will protect all of our users and customers everywhere"
- No offense: "we will oppose cyberattacks on innocent citizens and enterprises from anywhere"
- Capacity building: "we will help empower users, customers and developers to strengthen cybersecurity protection"
- Collective action: "we will partner with each other and with likeminded groups to enhance cybersecurity"
The pledge comes just a day after the US and UK announced in an unprecedented joint statement that they would push back hard against Russian hackers. In the past couple of years, nation-backed attacks have increased. But whether they are blamed on Russia, China or the United States, it's the normal users and businesses that suffer the most as is evident from last year's ransomware campaigns.
Today's pledge from the tech industry appears to be a strong message to the governments that they shouldn't expect getting any help from the tech industry in their cyberattacks against their adversaries as they vowed to defend against misuse of technology and promised to protect all customers regardless of nationality, geography or attack motivation.
The accord right now lacks some big names, including Apple, Google and Amazon. However, it's open to new members as long as they are "trusted," have "high cybersecurity standards," and pledge to unreservedly adhere to the Accord’s principles.
- You can read the complete text of this public commitment here.