LONDON, Feb 6 — Britain and France today host 35 nations alongside business and technology firm leaders at an inaugural conference in London to tackle “hackers for hire” and the market for cyber attack tools.

Representatives from firms including Apple, BAE Systems, Google and Microsoft are due to attend the two-day event, the UK government said in a statement.

The conference will discuss ways of addressing the commercial market for cyber snooping and attack tools as well as “the threat they pose to international security, human rights and the stability of cyberspace”.

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An international agreement, the Pall Mall process, has been inked by participants pledging joint action.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the commercial market for the tools is doubling every 10 years.

“Where these tools are used maliciously, attacks can access victims’ devices, listen to calls, obtain photos and remotely operate a camera and microphone via ‘zero-click’ spyware,” the government statement added.

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The threat of “hackers for hire” carrying out corporate espionage or services and of the tools being used by hostile states also threatened UK national security, it said.

“As the threat from malicious use of cyber tools grows, working with like-minded partners is essential to tackle an issue which does not respect borders,” said Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, who will lead the event alongside France.

NCSC director of operations Paul Chichester said the demand for the capability to conduct malicious cyber operations was “growing all the time”.

He said a thriving global cyber security sector was needed to “maintain the integrity of our digital society”. — AFP