27 Countries Sign New Cyber Agreement Establishing Online Norms

The signatories say they’re sick of the current ‘wild west’ nature of the internet, adding that cybercrime costs the globe USD $2.9 million every minute

A group of 27 nations have signed an agreement pledging fair play on the internet in an attempt to draw some lines in the sand when it comes to nefarious online activity.

The agreement, signed by major signatories like the US, UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Korea, Norway, Poland, New Zealand, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania and more says that “State and non-state actors are using cyberspace increasingly as a platform for irresponsible behavior from which to target critical infrastructure and our citizens, undermine democracies and international institutions and organizations, and undercut fair competition in our global economy by stealing ideas when they cannot create them.”

“There must be consequences for bad behaviour in cyberspace.”

In signing the agreement, the collective of nations is pressing the international community to adhere to international laws and norms of responsible behaviour that extend to the context of cyberspace, adding that “there must be consequences for bad behaviour in cyberspace.”

The statement - which you can access here - says that “over the past decade, the international community has made clear that the international rules-based order should guide state behaviour in cyberspace. UN member states have increasingly coalesced around an evolving framework of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace (framework), which supports the international rules-based order, affirms the applicability of international law to state-on-state behaviour, adherence to voluntary norms in peacetime, and the development and implementation of practical confidence-building measures to help reduce the risk of conflict stemming from cyber incidents.”

We reiterate that human rights apply and must be respected and protected by states online as well as offline, including when addressing cybersecurity.”

“We support targeted cybersecurity capacity building to ensure that all responsible states can implement this framework and better protect their networks from significant disruptive, destructive, or otherwise destabilizing cyber activity. We reiterate that human rights apply and must be respected and protected by states online as well as offline, including when addressing cybersecurity.”

According to InfoSecurity Magazine, “the countries said that they would work together to hold states accountable for their digital misdeeds. No specific countries were named and shamed in the statement’ however, the digs about undermining democracies could be construed as a reference to Russia, which has been accused of meddling in elections in the US, the Ukraine and France.”

“We call on all states to support the evolving framework and to join with us to ensure greater accountability and stability in cyberspace”

Isidoros Monogioudis, senior security architect at Digital Shadows told Info Security that “the recently issued statement still does not clarify how and when attribution can be effectively used in cyberspace.” In addition, “some topics are still in the negotiation phase, so the concept of ‘responsible state behaviour’ is still not fully defined. This might ultimately create challenges,” he said.

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