Experts discuss multinational approach to cyber conflict

  • 15 Jun. 2010 - 18 Jun. 2010
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  • Last updated: 24 Jun. 2010 13:48

Cyber security professionals from government, the military and academia attended the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss the growing connection between computer security and national security issues at the Conference on Cyber Conflict, from 15 to 18 June.

The event aimed to address the strategic, tactical, technical and legal aspects of conflict in cyberspace via peer-reviewed, cutting edge research. It followed three interdisciplinary parallel tracks: concepts and strategy, technical challenges, and law and policy.

In his opening address, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that if previous cyber aggression had been carried out with kinetic weapons, “we in NATO would [have been] faced minimally with an Article 4 and most likely with an Article 5 scenario.”

President Ilves also spoke of the vulnerability of open societies to cyber attacks and stressed, that because much of our critical infrastructure is multinational, a multinational approach is needed. He said that we need to make our “computer-dependent critical infrastructure resilient”, shielding it as much as possible from the threat of an attack.

Peter Flory, NATO Assistant Secretary General and Chairman of the Cyber Defence Management Board, closed the conference with a keynote speech emphasizing "the critical importance of information in NATO's military operations and political work, and the role of cyber defence in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of that information."

He also commended the Centre for its "excellent support for NATO's cyber defence work at all levels."

Other keynote speakers included Melissa Hathaway, former cyber coordination executive for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Bruce Schneier, Chief Security Technology Officer at the communication technologies company BT and author of several cyber defence-related publications.

The CCD COE was established in 2008 to enhance NATO’s cyber defence capability. Its sponsoring countries currently include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, the Slovak Republic and Spain.