NATO, DOD officials band to battle cyber bandits

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn meets with NATO and European Union officials in Brussels this week to strengthen cyber defense.

Leaders from the Defense Department, NATO and the European Union assembled in Brussels this week to discuss a plan to prevent, detect, defend and recover from cyberattacks, reports Jim Garamone of American Forces Press Service.

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Hunkered down in the alliance headquarters, the officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, met to come up with a plan to combat the recent slew of attacks in cyberspace. The seed for the cyber defense meeting was planted at a November summit in Lisbon.

“Threats are more frequent, more organized and more costly, and they can reach a threshold that threatens national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security and stability,” read a joint statement released at the Lisbon alliance.

At that time, NATO committed to bringing “cyber incident response organization” online by 2010 and to centralize NATO cyber security, writes J. Nicholas Hoover of InformationWeek. The group also agreed to develop a cyber defense policy by June 2011.

Leaders there agreed to reconvene in Brussels to track the progress made on cybersecurity since November.

At a Monday morning roundtable discussion, Lynn stressed the importance of public-private partnerships since the government and military regularly use private networks to communicate, reports American Forces Press Service.

According to the Press Service, about 80 to 90 percent of what the government and military do in cyberspace relies on private infrastructure.

“It’s [the Brussels Summit] an opportunity to bring cyber experts to really begin putting the implementation aspects behind the plan,” a senior defense official told American Forces Press Services on background.

Although NATO had existing cybersecurity concepts, including ways to warn each other, they proved to be ineffective.

“They were incomplete,” the defense official added. “They did not cover as much of the networks as we need. We do not cover 100 percent of the networks yet.”

Alliance leaders are now accelerating the timeline, he said. The plan is to provide coverage across military networks with a bridge to civilian networks over the course of the next three years, the official told Press Service.