Yalta hosts expert talks on cyber defence

Cyber crime and cyber terrorism know no borders – robust defence and deterrence calls for cooperation between the public and private sectors as well as at the international level. For the first time, Ukraine’s leading IT companies were invited to participate in roundtable discussions on cyber defence, which were jointly organized in Yalta on 12 October by the Security Service of Ukraine and NATO. The fourth round of NATO-Ukraine staff talks on cyber defence took place the following day.

In opening remarks given by video link from NATO Headquarters, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Jamie Shea emphasized that “Cyber threats are global and rapidly increasing in both numbers and sophistication. The consequences of cyber attacks may reach thresholds where national stability, well being or security may be threatened.”

“The first priority in responding to cyber threats is obviously to achieve a robust national cyber defence posture by implementation of national cyber defence strategies, supporting legislation, capabilities and ensuring close cooperation between all stakeholders within the public and private sector,” explained Mr Shea.

“The second challenge in cyber defence is to achieve efficient and effective international cooperation, which is a must to defend and deter against global cyber threats. Lack of effective international cooperation today is the main reason for the increasing presence of malicious activities in cyberspace, ranging from cyber crime to cyber espionage to large-scale cyber attacks,” he added.

The first Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Volodymyr Khimey, also underlined the gravity of the threat, stating that “Information security is one of the most important constituents of the state’s national security system.”

Staff talks help shape policy

Looking back over cooperation with Ukraine in this area, Suleyman Anil, Head of Cyber Defence in NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, explained that “NATO and Ukraine agreed to include cyber defence as a subject for cooperation under the JWGDR [NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defence Reform] as early as 2009, just a year after NATO nations approved NATO’s first policy on cyber defence, following the cyber attacks on Estonia.” He added that Ukraine was one of the first of NATO’s partner countries, along with Georgia, to engage with the Alliance in a dialogue on cyber defence.

The first three rounds of cyber defence expert staff talks have contributed to the development of Ukraine’s National Strategy on Cyber Defence and law on Cyber Security. Mr Anil also briefed Ukrainian representatives about NATO’s new Cyber Defence Policy and the Action Plan guiding the implementation of the policy, which were approved at the June 2011 meeting of Allied Defence Ministers and set out a clear vision of NATO’s efforts in cyber defence throughout the Alliance.

The staff talks brought together representatives of Ukraine’s Security Service, State Special Communications and Information Protection Service, National Security and Defence Council, the Ministry of Defence and General Staff of the Armed Forces, as well as NATO experts and representatives of Allied countries.

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