- The U.S. agreed to support the 2018 Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, said Vice President Kamala Harris, following talks with President Emmanuel Macron of France Wednesday. The initiative, spearheaded by France, is a means of combating threats in the cyber arena, ranging from disinformation to espionage and malign activity from nation-state and criminal threat actors.
- A growing number of countries and major technology firms have previously expressed support for the international effort and urged U.S. participation. Global leaders and technology executives including Microsoft President and Vice Chair Brad Smith have sought an international effort to create norms and standards that would help govern how various countries engage in cyberspace. The voluntary committee will work together to protect software supply chains, intellectual property and safeguard political discourse.
- The announcement is part of an effort by the U.S. to rebuild cooperation with key international allies, particularly France and other fellow members of the NATO alliance. The Biden administration has been working with a coalition of countries in recent months to combat a surge in supply chain and ransomware attacks that have been either sponsored by rival nation states or criminal actors operating from international safe havens.
The agreement with France underscores a major push from the Biden administration to garner international support for its efforts to confront Russia and China over their links to malign cyber activity targeting U.S. industries and government agencies over the past few years.
Biden confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year over a series of Russia-linked incidents, including the SolarWinds supply chain attack and ransomware extortion incidents against Colonial Pipeline and meat supplier JBS USA, which were linked to cyber gangs that have operated out of international safe havens supported by Russia.
Just this week, the U.S. formally stood up a cyber bureau at the State Department to accelerate diplomatic efforts to drive cooperation against malign cyber activity.
“That being said, despite a lot of supporters, it’s unclear what, if anything, the Paris Call has achieved concretely,” Katell Thielemann, Gartner research VP told Cybersecurity Dive, via email. “So, it’s not clear what the U.S. signing now will add beyond diplomatic overtures, but it underscores the increased realization that this is a global fight, particularly as critical infrastructure in many countries are under attack.”