Cybersecurity and digital trade: Getting it right

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Cybersecurity and digital trade: Getting it right

Trade and cybersecurity are increasingly intertwined. The expansion of the internet globally and use of data flows globally by businesses and consumers for communication, e-commerce, and as a source of access to information and innovation, is transforming international trade. The spread of artificial intelligence, the “internet of things,” and cloud computing will work to increase global connectivity of businesses, governments, and supply chains.

As global interconnectivity grows, however, so does exposure to the risks and costs of cyberattacks. For example, formjacking—using JavaScript to steal credit card details from e-commerce sites—or supply chains hacks which exploit third party services and software to compromise a final target, undermine business and consumer trust in using the internet for commerce. The WannaCry ransomware attributed to North Korea infected more than 200,000 computers across 153 countries, costing hundreds of millions of dollars damage. What is clear is a lack of cybersecurity is costly and can undermine the trust of consumers and business in engaging in digital trade. Protecting trust in a digitally connected world necessarily involves collaboration across borders between the public and private sectors because global networks, organizations, and supply chains rely on the same systems and software, most of it supplied by enterprises, and they face the same threats.

The importance of cybersecurity is leading countries to adopt cybersecurity policies. According to one estimate at least 50 countries have adopted cybersecurity policies and regulation. Some of these cybersecurity policies recognize a need for international cooperation: the EU identified “a need for closer cooperation at a global level to improve security standards, improve information, and promote a common global approach to network and information security issues ….” and the most recent U.S. Cybersecurity Strategy reaffirms the need to “strengthen the capacity and interoperability of those allies and partners to improve our ability to optimize our combined skills, resources, capabilities, and perspectives against shared threats. 

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Cybersecurity and digital trade: Getting it right