• Last updated: 09 Oct. 2012 13:51

Defending against cyber attacks

NATO and cyber defence

NATO and cyber defence

Against the background of increasing dependence on technology and on the Internet, the Alliance is advancing its efforts to confront the wide range of cyber threats targeting NATO’s networks on a daily basis. The growing sophistication of cyber attacks makes the protection of the Alliance’s communications and information systems (CIS) an urgent task. This objective has been recognised as a priority in NATO’s Strategic Concept, and has been reiterated in the two most recent Summit Declarations, as well as at NATO ministerial meetings.



High resolution photos

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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics 30 Jun. 2009 In 2011 there were 403 million unique variants of malware, compared to 286 million in 2010. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012 (Photo by NCIRC NATO)
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics In 2011 mobile malware presented a tangible threat to businesses and consumers for the first time. The number of vulnerabilities for mobile devices is rising, with malware authors reinventing existing malware and creating mobile-specific malware. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics As tablets and smartphones continue to gain popularity, increasing amounts of sensitive information will be available on these devices. Malware designed for data collection, the sending of content, and user tracking will also become a greater problem. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics 13 Nov. 2008 More than 232.4 million identities were exposed and subject to potential theft during 2011. Hacking incidents posed the greatest threat, exposing 187 million identities. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012 (Photo by Andres Rueda)
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics Workers are bringing their smartphones and tablets into the corporate environment faster than many organizations are able to secure and manage them. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics According to a recent Symantec survey, 50% of lost phones will not be returned. For unprotected phones, 96% of lost phones will have the data on that phone breached. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics The most frequent cause of data breaches that could lead to stolen identities is theft or loss of computers, smartphones, USB keys, and backup devices. Theft or loss related breaches exposed 18.5 million identities. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics Macs are not immune from cyber threats. A number of new threats emerged for Mac OS X in 2011, including trojans like MacDefender, a fake anti-virus programme. It looks convincing and it installs without requiring admin permission first. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012 (Photo by Sharyn Morrow)
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics In 2010, Stuxnet grabbed headlines around the world. It showed that targeted attacks could be used to cause physical damage in the real world, making the spectre of cyber-sabotage a reality. In October 2011, Stuxnet’s successor, Duqu, came to light. It uses a zero-day exploit to install spyware that records keystrokes and other system information. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics At 54% combined, the government/public sector, manufacturing and finance were the most targeted industries when it came to email cyber attacks in 2011. Source: Symantec
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics QR codes, a way for people to convert a barcode into a Web site link using a camera app on their smartphone, have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. It’s fast, convenient and dangerous. Malware authors have used it to install infected software on Android phones. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.
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    • Cyberdefence, Key trends and Statistics Companies are increasingly using cloud applications instead of company-managed software to store files or communicate. Although there are benefits to cloud computing, there are also cyber security and legal risks involved. Source: Symantec ISTR, April 2012.


NATO Review

    • Cyber - the good, the bad and the bug-free 24 Jun. 2013

      The changing threats to the world since 2001 is evident. When 9/11 occurred, there were just over 513 million Internet users (just over 8% of the world's population). But today's world has over 2.7 billion users of the Internet (or nearly 39% of the global population)…..

    • The history of cyber attacks - a timeline 24 Jun. 2013

      NATO Review's timeline on cyber attacks shows the history - and seriousness - of attacks since they began in the 1980s. Use the interactive timeline to find out about some of the major - and most audacious - cyber attacks since the first worm got loose in 1988.

    • Cyber attacks, NATO - and angry birds 24 Jun. 2013

      If any NATO country knows about cyber attacks, it's Estonia. The country suffered a high profile series of attacks on institutions across the country in spring 2007. NATO Review asked Estonia's President what the country learned from this and why he feels the area deserves more attention.

    • Cyberwar - does it exist? 24 Jun. 2013

      Cyber war does not exist. This is the bald statement summarising the work of Dr Thomas Rid of King's College London, who feels that cyber attacks meet none of the conditions of war. NATO Review asked how he came to this conclusion and what it meant for the security field.

    • Cyber: how it can be used - in pictures 24 Jun. 2013

      Cyber is never the easiest subject to illustrate (without numerous pictures of cables, keyboards and flashing computer lights), but NATO Review has managed to find a number of events and issues which highlight how the use of cyber techniques has boomed.

    • Cyber attacks: how can they hurt us? 24 Jun. 2013

      What damage can cyber attacks actually do? NATO Review asks the White House's former director of cyber infrastructure protection what we should be worried about - and how knowledge of cyber attacks' potential may be more limited than portrayed.

    • Cyber security infographic 24 Jun. 2013

      No time to watch a video on cyber attacks? No problem. Here we provide an infographic highlighting the main threats (and prevention techniques) for those who fear cyber attacks in government bodies. From phishing to spam and from big data to data leakage, this GovLoop infographic explains what to look for and where.

    • Crime, computers and security in 2012 23 Jan. 2012

      What's going to happen in 2012? Some things are easy to see: we'll see more attacks by criminals. We'll see more attacks by hactivists (like the infamous Anonymous group). But most importantly, we'll see that many of the future real-world crisis will have a cyber element in them as well. Certainly, any future war between technically developed nations is likely to incorporate computer attacks.

    • New threats: the cyber-dimension 08 Sep. 2011

      September 11th, 2001 has often been called the day that changed everything. This might not be true for our day to day life, but in security, it really marked a new era. Together with the Twin Towers, our traditional perceptions of threats collapsed. The Cold War scenario that had dominated for over 50 years was radically and irrevocably altered.

    • Social media - the frontline of cyberdefence? 23 Mar. 2011

      There are those who see social media as a threat to their security. Not just individuals, not just companies, but also governments. Why is this? And how much of a soft underbelly do social networks present?

    • China and the West: Keyboard conflicts 21 Apr. 2010

      Both the West and China have highlighted the importance of the Web - in different ways. Here we look at how it is becoming centre stage in cyber attacks between the two and the efforts both sides are making to beef up their defences.

NATO Secretary General and Cyberdefence