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Welcoming US-EU collaboration on cybersecurity

Armistice Day is a perennial reminder of the perils of unchecked escalation and the sacrifices of prior generations to protect peace and security. Multilateralism, born of the 20th century’s conflicts, is just as relevant in a world of 21st-century threats. That’s particularly true for one of the most pressing multi-stakeholder challenges today: cybersecurity.

The internet itself is a multi-stakeholder system, and protecting citizens online requires cooperation among governments and businesses. For example, this week’s crackdown on ransomware operators by Europol and the U.S. Department of Justice, resulting in the arrests of two REvil operators, capped off an enforcement effort that spanned a year and as many as 17 nations. These actions, coming just ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Budapest Convention, highlight the value of cross-border cooperation in fighting cybercrime, as well as the importance of protecting individuals and their rights online.

Likewise, we applaud the news, announced by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris in Paris, that the United States is expanding its efforts to advance international cooperation in cybersecurity, by joining the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace — a voluntary commitment to work with the international community to advance cybersecurity and preserve the open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet.

Google was among the first signatories to the Paris Call in 2018 when it was initially advanced by the government of President Macron of France. The Paris Call’s 9 principles are something we should all agree to, but it is past time to put them into action. Google has unique expertise supporting many of these principles. To name a few:

  • Defend electoral processes. Through our Advanced Protection Program (APP), we partner with organizations around the world to protect elected officials, campaign offices, and other high-risk users such as human rights workers and journalists. During the 2020 United States elections, APP was the go-to choice for 140 federal campaigns. Since the launch of APP, there have been zero identified instances of a successful targeted attack on an APP user.
  • Lifecycle Security. The Solarwinds attack underscored the real risks and ramifications of supply chain attacks. To improve our own security and support the broader community, we worked with the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to develop and release Supply-chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA or “salsa”), a proven framework for securing the software supply chain. We also pledged to provide $100 million to support third-party foundations, like OpenSSF, that manage open source security priorities and help fix vulnerabilities.
  • Cyber Hygiene. Advancing cyber hygiene is a simple way to reduce the majority of successful attacks. At our Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Munich and at Google security engineering hubs around the world, we are making it easier for our users to stay safe. For example, Google has been at the forefront of innovation in two-step verification (2SV) for years. And because we know the best way to keep our users safe is to turn on our security protections by default, we have started to automatically configure our users’ accounts into a more secure state. By the end of 2021, we plan to auto-enroll an additional 150 million Google users in 2SV and require 2 million YouTube creators to turn it on.

We have learned in the wake of SolarWinds, Hafnium, and other attacks is that companies need to contribute more of their technology and expertise to solving these challenges. In that vein, we are doubling down to develop solutions to protect users, organizations, and society. Earlier this year, we announced that we will invest $10 billion over the next five years to advance cybersecurity, including expanding access to zero-trust security tools and offering free security skills training programs for workers in the U.S. and Europe.

Google keeps more people safe online than anyone else by putting security at the core of everything we do. We are committed to advancing community-driven, multi-stakeholder approaches to cybersecurity. We look forward to expanding our work with governments and the private sector to develop security technologies and standards that make us all safer.

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