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Tech industry signs cyber security charter

Nine technology organisations have signed a cyber security charter aimed at raising the level of cyber security internationally

A charter on cyber security that identifies 10 action areas has been signed by nine organisations in the technology industry at the annual Munich Security Conference on international security policy that is attended by world leaders, foreign ministers and defence representatives.

The Charter of Trust, an initiative led by Siemens, calls for dedicated government ministries and chief information security officers, independent certification for critical infrastructures, security controls for the internet of things, and binding rules and standards to build trust in cyber security and further advance digitalisation.

In addition to Siemens, signatories of the charter include Airbus, Allianz, Daimler Group, IBM, NXP, SGS, Deutsche Telekom and the Munich Security Conference.

The initiative was welcomed by Canadian foreign minister and Group of Seven (G7) representative Chrystia Freeland and witnessed by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the EU commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Confidence that the security of data and networked systems is guaranteed is a key element of the digital transformation,” said Siemens president and CEO Joe Kaeser. “That’s why we have to make the digital world more secure and trustworthy. It’s high time we acted – not just individually, but jointly with strong partners who are leaders in their markets. We hope more partners will join us to further strengthen our initiative.”

The charter details 10 action areas in cyber security where governments and businesses must become active. It calls for responsibility for cyber security to be assumed at the highest levels of government and business, with the introduction of a dedicated ministry in governments and a chief information security officer at companies.

It also calls for companies to establish mandatory, independent third-party certification for critical infrastructure and systems where dangerous situations can arise, such as with autonomous vehicles or the robots of tomorrow, which will interact directly with humans during production processes.

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The charter calls for security and data protection functions to be preconfigured as a part of technologies, and cyber security regulations to be incorporated into free trade agreements.

The charter’s signatories also call for greater efforts to foster an understanding of cyber security through training and continuing education as well as international initiatives.

“Secure digital networks are the critical infrastructure underpinning our interconnected world,” said Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland. “Canada welcomes the efforts of these key industry players to help create a safer cyber space. Cyber security will certainly be a focus of Canada’s G7 presidency year.‎”‎

The matter is also a top priority for the Munich Security Conference, and conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said governments must take a leadership role when it comes to the transaction rules in cyber space.

However, he said the companies that are in the forefront of envisioning and designing the future of cyber space must develop and implement the standards. “That is why the charter is so important. Together with our partners, we want to advance the topic and help define its content,” he said.

Damage caused

According to the European Union’s cyber security agency, Enisa, cyber security attacks caused damage totalling more than €560bn worldwide in 2016 alone. For some European countries, the damage was equivalent to 1.6% of the gross domestic product.

In a digital world, the charter signatories note that the threats to cyber security are steadily growing, especially with the number of internet-connected devices increasing by 31% in a year to 8.4 billion in 2017. By 2020, the figure is expected to reach 20.4 billion, according to research firm Gartner.

UK prime minister Theresa May is expected to set out the “security partnership” she wants to maintain with the EU post-Brexit at the Munich Security Conference this weekend, according to the BBC.

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