Thirty-four large technology companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, HP, ARM, Cisco and Oracle, have signed a new cybersecurity agreement. The commitment is to help protect against cyberattacks and not help governments, including the United States, to "launch cyber attacks against innocent citizens and companies," as The New York Times first reported.
According to the NYT, the impetus for the coalition has been the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, whose goal is, ultimately, to develop a "Geneva Digital Convention" to establish the rules for an acceptable digital war. As detailed in the agreement, there are four areas that the signed companies promise to improve: help protect clients from future attacks, refuse to help governments launch attacks, work to improve the ability of developers and customers to protect themselves, and working collectively to collaborate and share vulnerabilities and threats.
It's a good start, but as The New York Times points out, it's still a very limited agreement that does not include several major companies like Apple, Google and Amazon. It is also almost entirely comprised of US companies. UU That means that companies in Russia, North Korea, Iran or China, which in theory would be suspicious of the increased risk of helping their governments develop malicious digital hardware and software, are not making that promise.