NATO plans cyber defence task force

Cyber war

NATO has revealed plans for a cyber task force to help detect and deal with attacks.

The Cyber Red Team was announced by Luc Dandurand, an expert with NATO's C3 Agency, who told AFP it would "provide a significant contribution to the improvement of NATO's cyber defence capability."

"The need for such a team is obvious," Dandurand said, highlighting some legal issues that need to be dealt with before the Cyber Red Team can become a reality.

"The two main issues identified at this point are the need to legitimise the Cyber Red Team activities that could otherwise be construed as the malicious or unauthorised use of computer systems, and the potential for invasion of privacy resulting from Cyber Red Team activities."

NATO has adopted a new policy, designed to give "a coordinated approach to cyber defence across the Alliance."

The policy will see all NATO cyber operations brought under centralised protection, whilst cyber defence has been integrated into the body's Defence Planning Process.

"Cyber-attacks against Estonia in the Spring of 2007, during Russia's operation in Georgia in 2008, and the many more cyber attacks we have seen worldwide since then have shown us there is a new kind of war that can cause a lot of damage," Major General Jonathan Shaw, a British defence ministry official, told delegates at NATO's third annual cyber defence conference.

"We need a response system and we need to learn to respond fast. In the cyber world you have to do lot of homework before the attack in order to be effective."

Hackers have been increasingly targeting nation states in recent years. Last week, Secretary of Defence Dr Liam Fox revealed the Ministry of Defence dealt with more than 1,000 cyber attacks on UK interests in 2010.

As for global bodies, this weekend news broke of hacks on the International Monetary Fund.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.