The United States and three allies announced a partnership on Tuesday that will see the countries work together on several cybersecurity initiatives centered around fortifying software, supply chains and user data.
U.S. President Joe Biden is currently making his first trip across Asia as president and met in Tokyo with newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan to discuss a range of issues.
In a statement released after the meeting, the leaders committed to improving the collective cybersecurity of critical infrastructure by sharing threat information and identifying potential risks in supply chains for digitally-enabled products and services.
The partnership will also see the countries join forces on efforts “aligning baseline software security standards for government procurement, leveraging our collective purchasing power to improve the broader software development ecosystem so that all users can benefit.”
“The Quad partners will coordinate capacity building programs in the Indo-Pacific region under the Quad Cybersecurity Partnership, and will initiate the first-ever Quad Cybersecurity Day to help individual internet users across our nations, the Indo-Pacific region, and beyond to better protect themselves from cyber threats,” the White House said in a statement.
Each country has separately sought to beef up cybersecurity protections in recent years and the joint initiative was criticized heavily by Chinese officials, who told CNN that the U.S. was trying to stoke “geopolitical rivalry” with an “Indo-Pacific NATO.”
Each country has faced severe issues with China-linked hackers. Last month, Indian officials accused China of attempting to hack seven facilities managing the electricity grid in Northern India.
Last year, Australia and Japan joined with the U.S. in accusing China’s ministry of state security of exploiting Microsoft Exchange software vulnerabilities to hack hundreds of computers and devices.
The White House said leaders from all four countries will meet again in Australia next year.