For the first time ever, members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group made a joint public appearance in the U.K. to discuss how they work together in the intelligence world.
Created in 1941, the Five Eyes alliance includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. where they share military and human intelligence.
During the recent summit, the five nations agreed to share more information to combat foreign interference campaigns.
This particular agreement comes after allegations that the Russian government had launched disinformation campaigns against the United States and United Kingdom.
The Five Eyes Alliance also pledged to share more information between its cyber watch offices that track hostile cyber activity on a consistent basis.
By declaring that a cyber attack is an attack on our communities and our sovereignty, the alliance is (finally) sending a message to China, Russia and Iran.
Top officials in each government said they will coordinate technical operational response policies related to significant cyber attacks.
In fact, all the nations in the Five Eyes alliance attributed the NotPetya attack to the Russian government in a coordinated diplomatic move this February.
The five nations also said that the use of certain encrypted devices meant it had become more difficult to stop serious crimes and threats to national and global security.
Leaders from the five nations added that these technologies often used to protect sensitive information are also being used by criminals, terrorists and organized crime groups.
The reality is, these five nations are sharing critical information that can help keep cyber attacks at bay and coordinate widespread responses to cyber attacks from nations such as Russia, China, and North Korea.
Since this five nation summit focused on cyber security I want to share with you a few things to take away from this meeting that can affect Americans.
Stay away from Huawei.
Huawei has been in the news a lot lately. Before the summit took place, CIA officials told their British counterparts that Huawei received funding from branches of Beijing’s state security office, a claim denied by the company.
There is no question that Huawei has ties to the Chinese government. Now, Huawei products are not widely sold in the U.S. but AT&T had an agreement to sell Huawei phones before news broke of their ties to the Chinese government.
You can still buy Huawei products online from places such as Amazon, and while they may be a great product, they are not worth the security risk and the President is now stopping companies from working with them.
More conflict with China.
It’s no secret that the main adversary of the five eyes nations is China, who has been accused of countless cyber attacks against the U.S. In addition, the trade war going back and forth with China and the U.S. is only going to get worse before it gets better.
Americans are going to start paying more for goods that come from China, with Wal-Mart recently saying that consumers will soon start seeing higher prices due to the increase in tariffs. As tariffs increase, there is no doubt that cyber-attacks will increase too.
Don’t depend on the government to stop cyber attacks.
Another topic on which each of the Five Eyes five agreed is that the cyber sector faces a skills shortage. Each relayed details of initiatives they have undertaken in their countries to boost the cyber awareness of their citizens, as well as growing recruitment of cyber specialists.
In other words, the intelligence and cyber security community doesn’t have enough people to stop every cyber attack. For this reason, you need to take your cyber security seriously and make sure you are doing your part to stay safe.
For example, make sure you are using strong passwords, a virtual private network, and always updating your electronics to the latest software patches.
The joint appearances by five nations are rare, but this was clearly done to send a message to the world that these nations are working together to combat cyber attacks.
However, we know that every cyber attack can’t be stopped, so as I just mentioned, make sure you take your internet security seriously and do your part to stay safe.