Microsoft’s Brad Smith calls for new ‘Digital Geneva Convention’

Elizabeth Robinson
By Elizabeth Robinson on 14 November 2017
Microsoft’s Brad Smith calls for new ‘Digital Geneva Convention’

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, has emphasised the importance of cybersecurity, the challenges relating to it and has discussed the recent WannaCry ransomware attack.

In a recent blog post, Smith said: “As technology continues to reshape the world, it’s clear that conflicts between nations are no longer confined to the land, sea and air. A cyber arms race is underway with nations developing and unleashing a new generation of weapons aimed at governments and civilians alike, putting at risk the critical data and digital-powered infrastructure that we all depend on for our daily lives.”

Smith believes a new ‘Digital Geneva Convention’ is needed, and must commit governments to defending and protecting civilians from state-sponsored cyber-attacks.

“When we introduced the concept of a Digital Geneva Convention this past February, we acknowledged that it’s the type of initiative that requires as much as a decade of work,” said Smith. “We also recognised that this type of agreement could take a variety of different forms and requires more than a single step.”

He concluded by saying: “The future of cybersecurity on the internet will require many steps by many people. We will need to continue to look to tech companies to act proactively to strengthen defences and work closely with customers. We need governments to act together, both to adhere to current international norms and create new law to fill in the gaps. The world needs a ‘Digital Geneva Convention’, as well as many additional steps to move us towards creating a more secure world.”

When discussing the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack earlier this year, Smith explained that the attack didn’t just cause damage to machines.

“As the UK’s National Audit Office concluded just last week, WannaCry’s impact forced the National Health Service to divert ambulances and cancel over 19,000 appointments for people scheduled to see a physician or have a surgical procedure,” he said “WannaCry provided a wake-up call to the world.”

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