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Leaders of several Pacific nations met in Fiji last week to strengthen ties and promote unity in the region.

The Pacific faces numerous challenges, such as the threat of climate change and major powers jostling for influence in the region. Against these adversities, Pacific countries have shown determination to preserve their own (and the region’s) identity and sovereignty.

One less-appreciated aspect of Pacific security is cybersecurity. Some cyber threats are financially motivated, such as ransomware or phishing attacks, but others aim at critical infrastructure. Still other attacks threaten society and democratic processes through spreading misinformation and disinformation.

We are working with Pacific governments to assess their current cybersecurity situations – and make recommendations for a path forward.

An broader idea of security

In 2018, the 18 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum signed the Boe Declaration on Regional Security. After noting climate change as “the single greatest threat”, the declaration lays out an “expanded concept of security” which includes cybersecurity.

The declaration set the scene for cybersecurity as a shared priority for the region. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has raised the stakes even further, as online services and remote work have rapidly increased.

Cybersecurity will be necessary to enable continued economic development amid natural disasters, changes in the global security situation, and worldwide economic upheavals.

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