“We are trying to be as comfortable dealing with cyber as we are with missiles, tanks and aircraft,” said Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the NATO Emerging Security Challenges Division and a Trustee of Friends of Europe. “So we have made cyber a planning domain, where all allies accept capability targets in cyber areas in the way that they accept targets to improve airfields and so on.”
However, there is a wide range in capacity levels between different countries in the EU and NATO, with some very advanced in cyber security and others still in a state of denial, he said. “Countries with capabilities are reluctant to share intel as long as weaker countries do not come up to standard.”
Unlike conventional defence, the key expertise in cyber defence is in the private sector. At their Wales Summit last year, NATO leaders adopted the NATO Industry Cyber Partnership (NICP) to try to foster better cooperation.
“This is a domain that will require collaboration,” said Leendert van Bochoven, Global Lead for National Security and NATO at IBM. But this should be done sector by sector on a voluntary basis to ensure that trusted groups of people can work together, he said: “It is better to be proactive on a voluntary basis that the government mandating this and making it a burden.”
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IMAGE CREDITS: CC / FLICKR – Yuri Samoilov