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Communications of the ACM

East Asia and Oceania Region special section: Hot topics

Cybersecurity in Pacific Island Nations

woman working on laptop computer while sitting in hammock

Credit: Maloff / Shutterstock

The Oceania region is at a crossroads, with physical security challenges headlined by a changing climate providing an existential threat to many of the Pacific Island nations that call the region home. Furthermore, the region has become a geopolitical battleground with major actors including Australia, China, the European Union, New Zealand, and the U.S. all working to gain influence.

During the Pacific Islands Forum in late 2018, Pacific Island leaders outlined their security concerns through the Boe Declaration—a pronouncement that looked to establish an expanded concept of security.a One such security issue that has begun to emerge and will only accelerate without individual and collective action is the threat of cyberattacks and cybercrime in the region. Most of the Pacific Island nations have either recently or are in the process of drastically increasing the access to international connectivity through submarine cables that enable the potential transformation to digital economy and digital society of such nations. However, the rapid expansion of fast access to the globally connected Internet has also increased the risks of Pacific Island nations becoming victims of cyberattacks and cybercrime.


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