Security & Fraud

Microsoft Wants Digital Geneva Convention

Microsoft Adjusts Windows 10 Install Target

Just recently, tech giant Microsoft proposed a new initiative that would work to protect world citizens from political cyberattacks originating from nation-states.

Speaking at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Microsoft President Brad Smith reportedly proposed a Digital Geneva Convention. The goal for the hypothetical convention would be for world leaders to set standards and practices for protecting civilians from cyberattacks.

“Just as the world’s governments came together in 1949 to adopt the Fourth Geneva Convention to protect civilians in times of war, we need a digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to implement the norms that have been developed to protect civilians on the internet in times of peace,” Smith wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

In this proposed cybersecurity convention, Smith believes that major tech companies, given their lack of political alignment and role as first responders in the case of cyberattacks, should play the role of Switzerland.

“As the Fourth Geneva Convention relies on the Red Cross to help protect civilians in wartime, protection against nation-state cyberattacks requires the active assistance of the tech sector,” Smith wrote.

Microsoft has worked to partner with other companies on cybersecurity, along with working with cloud companies such as Amazon and Google, to combat spam and phishing. Currently, Microsoft is reportedly working to implement reporting standards for abuse, said GeekWire.

In the proposed Digital Geneva Convention, tech experts would examine cybercrime to determine if it was conducted by a nation-state. The potential response to violations, as well as proposed methods of enforcement, are unclear.

“Even in a world of growing nationalism, when it comes to cybersecurity, the global tech sector needs to operate as a neutral digital Switzerland,” Smith wrote. “We will assist and protect customers everywhere. We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere. We need to retain the world’s trust.”


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