Microsoft: International cyber-pacts can lead to less malware

A new report looks at the link between factors such as broadband adoption and Facebook use and malware attacks

Countries that have signed on to international cybersecurity agreements tend to have fewer malware infections among their citizens, according to new research released by Microsoft and George Washington University.

Countries that have signed the 2001 Council of Europe Cybercrime treaty or the 2004 London Action Plan on spam tend to outperform other countries in a key cybersecurity measure, said the report, released Wednesday by Microsoft and George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute.

While simply signing on to an international cybersecurity agreement may not have an impact on the metric, computers cleaned per mile, or CCM, the agreements often come with requirements for countries before they can sign on, said Paul Nicholas, senior director of global security strategy and diplomacy at Microsoft.

The requirements from the agreements include methods for international cooperation on cybercrime that "can evolve with the changing threat landscape," he said.

To sign on to the agreements, countries "had to go and build capabilities, they had to change laws," Nicholas added.

Beyond the international agreements, researchers found 34 factors that correlate with a stronger national cybersecurity posture. Among the factors that correlated with a lower CCM number were computers per capita, Facebook use, health expenditures per person, broadband penetration, and research and development spending.

However, Microsoft and George Washington found that countries with a defensive strategy for cybersecurity don't necessarily have low CCM rates. "The expression of military doctrines for cyberspace is a novel and ongoing development," the report said.

Countries with the lowest CCM, according to the report, included Australia, China, Japan, Sweden and France. The U.S., U.K., Russia, South Africa, Spain and Argentina had slightly higher CCM rates.

Among the countries with the highest CCM: Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and Iraq.

Microsoft, in the report, noted that CCM isn't a perfect measure of cybersecurity posture in a country. And a low CCM number doesn't mean that a country is safe from cyberattacks, Nicholas said. "You're safer than you were, but you're not yet safe," he said. "Certainly, there are a lot of painful things happening in the world right now."

Authors of the report hope it will be helpful to policymakers in countries looking to increase their cybersecurity posture, Nicholas said. Policymakers and cybersecurity experts in many parts of the world are currently talking about new ways to cooperate internationally and improve national cybersecurity responses, and those are "very positive" discussions, he said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftregulationsecurityGeorge Washington UniversitygovernmentPaul Nicholas

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?