A group of 31 global tech companies have sign an agreement that prevents them from assisting governments in developing cyberweapons. The companies – which includes Microsoft, Facebook, and HP – have pledged to uphold a sort of “Digital Geneva Convention”; banding together to combat the increase in online threats around the world.
The idea is basically that the signatories will avoid lending their technology and expertise to governments for the purpose of engaging in cyberwar. Whether it be developing new types of malware for the purpose of espionage, or simply providing the infrastructure needed to deploy such weapons.
The group will also be collaborating to improve the security of their products. Which should reduce their vulnerability to attacks from cybercriminals.
“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.” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “This tech sector accord will help us take a principled path towards more effective steps to work together and defend customers around the world.”
That said, there are some glaring holes in the number of companies that have signed the accord. The New York Times points out that 29 of the companies are from the US, with only Finland’s Nokia and Spain’s Telefonica being the odd ones out. More importantly, there are no companies from Russia or China; the two countries which are said to have the most involvement in cyberwar.
Also notably missing were technology giants Amazon, Apple, and Google.
It’s nearly impossible to get a grasp of the cyberwarfare on the international scale. There are few instances where countries have been caught employing malware for their own gain; aside from incidents where American sabotage and spying efforts were leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, or when American NSA malware was obtained by the Russians.