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NATO counters cyber threats with network collaboration

25th February 2019 - 15:30 GMT | by Kate Martyr

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All NATO members will connect to a protected information sharing network this year as the organisation looks to build greater Allied collaboration to counter increasingly dynamic cyber threats.

Allied Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) for 24 NATO nations will connect to a protected business network, launched by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) agency in a system roll-out scheduled for end of Q2 and beginning of Q3 FY2019.

CERT teams from the UK, Belgium, France, Netherlands and the US successfully connected to the network on 12 February 2019 ahead of the main roll-out after an eight-week planning phase.

The network was set up ‘using, mostly, secure commercial kit’ an NCI agency spokesperson told Shephard.

Already existing MoUs between NATO nations provided the legal framework for the initial system roll-out amongst the first five nations and these will also be used for the next wave of connections.

The spokesperson added that a high level of cooperation from the other 24 allies is expected ‘because there is unanimity of purpose in this initiative enabling our cyber defenders to collaborate much more effectively against common cyber threats’.

The new network provides an encrypted workspace with secure video, voice, chat and information gathering and will allow for all connected computer emergency response teams to share information quickly.

It is hoped that the business network will provide a place for increased collaboration and NATO NCI hopes that it will be the first step in the creation of a cyber security collaboration hub.

In a statement NCI agency cyber security chief, Ian West said, ‘To defend against dynamic threats, we need to act quickly. Email and telephones just aren't effective anymore. This is our first step towards building a modern, secure network among CERTs. We are grateful to have received offers of support from several Nations as we begin this critical effort.’

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