US urges NATO to build 'cyber shield'

Sep 15, 2010
NATO must build a "cyber shield" to protect the transatlantic alliance from any Internet threats to its military and economic infrastructures, US Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn, pictured in 2009, said Wednesday.

NATO must build a "cyber shield" to protect the transatlantic alliance from any Internet threats to its military and economic infrastructures, a top US defence official said Wednesday.

Cyber security is a "critical element" for the 28-nation alliance to embrace at its summit of leaders in Lisbon on November 19-20, US Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn said in Brussels.

"The alliance has a crucial role to play in extending a blanket of security over our networks," Lynn said.

"NATO has a nuclear shield, it is building a stronger and stronger defence shield, it needs a cyber shield as well," he said at a forum hosted by the Security & Defence Agenda think-tank.

The Pentagon's number two called for adopting the Cold War-era strategy of "collective defence" in the cyber arena.

"The Cold War concepts of shared warning apply in the 21st century to . Just as our air defences, our missile defences have been linked so too do our cyber defences need to be linked as well," Lynn said.

The US government estimates that more than 100 foreign intelligence agencies or governments try to hack into US systems "on a daily basis," he said, highlighting the magnitude of the challenge.

"I think they see the asymetric advantage that can be gained through cyber technology," Lynn said.

The threat of cyber attacks was highlighted in Estonia, a NATO member, in 2007 when it suffered an assault that paralysed key business and government web services for days.

The Pentagon was forced to review its own digital security in 2008 after the most serious cyber attack on the US military's networks, which came from a tainted flash drive that was inserted in a military laptop in the Middle East.

Lynn said the Pentagon strategy has identified "five pillars" to cyber security: recognising cyberspace as the next domain of warfare; the need for active defences; the protection of critical infrastructure; enhancing collective defence; and the need to "marshall our technological prowess."

Lynn stressed that any cyber security strategy needs to take into account threats to critical infrastructure for economies such as power grids, transport systems and financial markets.

"NATO indeed needs to take decisive action to defend its networks," he said.

"I think at Lisbon we will see the kind of high-level leadership commitment to cyber defence. It's the foundation for any alliance effort," he said.

Lynn said he discussed cyber at a meeting with NATO's decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, in Brussels on Wednesday.

"I was very impressed with the unity of purpose and the similar vision that most nations in the alliance seem to have towards the cyber threat," he said.

Explore further: A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NATO's cyber-brains gaze at the future of war

Apr 24, 2010

Behind the walls of a high-security lab, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's top cyber-minds are trying to predict the evolution of conflict in an Internet-dependent world.

Time to wake up to cyber threat: experts

Jun 18, 2010

NATO governments and the public must wake up to the threat of cyberattacks, which could paralyse a nation far more easily than conventional warfare, experts warned Friday.

Baker College wins cyber defense contest

Apr 24, 2008

Baker College of Flint, Mich., Texas A&M University and the University of Louisville have won top honors in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

Recommended for you

A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

11 hours ago

Sure, you have a lot to do today—laundry, bills, dinner—but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Web filter lifts block on gay sites

11 hours ago

A popular online safe-search filter is ending its practice of blocking links to mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups for users hoping to avoid obscene sites.

Protecting infrastructure with smarter CPS

18 hours ago

Security of IT networks is continually being improved to protect against malicious hackers. Yet when IT networks interface with infrastructures such as water and electric systems to provide monitoring and control capabilities, ...

Apple helps iTunes users delete free U2 album

Sep 15, 2014

Apple on Monday began helping people boot U2 off their iTunes accounts after a cacophony of complaints about not wanting the automatically downloaded free album by the Irish rock band.

Habitual Facebook users: Suckers for social media scams?

Sep 15, 2014

A new study finds that habitual use of Facebook makes individuals susceptible to social media phishing attacks by criminals, likely because they automatically respond to requests without considering how they are connected ...

YouTube to go offline in India on Android phones

Sep 15, 2014

YouTube users in India will soon be able to save videos from the Google-owned service, making it possible to watch them offline, and the feature will eventually be available globally, the company said Monday.

User comments : 0