Nato cyber command to be fully operational in 2023

MONS, Belgium: A new Nato military command centre to deter computer hackers should be fully staffed in 2023 and able to mount its own cyber attacks but the alliance is still grappling with ground rules for doing so, a senior general said on Tuesday.
While Nato does not have its own cyber weapons, the US-led alliance established an operations centre on August 31 at its military hub in Belgium. The United States, Britain, Estonia and other allies have since offered their cyber capabilities.
“This is an emerging domain and the threat is growing,” said Major General Wolfgang Renner, a German air force commander who oversees the new cyber operations centre, or CYOC, in Mons.
“We have to be prepared, to be able to execute operations in cyberspace. We have already gone beyond protection and prevention,” he said during a Nato cyber conference.
Nato communication and computer networks face hundreds of significant hacking attempts every month, according to the Nato Communication and Information Agency, while experts say Russia, North Korea and China are constantly deploying sophisticated computer hacking weapons and surveillance software.
Accusations by Western governments this month that Russia waged a global hacking campaign have raised the profile of Nato’s evolving strategy as allied governments look for a response. The European Union on Monday discussed its options, including a special economic sanctions regime to target cyber attackers.
“Our ultimate aim is to be completely aware of our cyberspace, to understand minute-by-minute the state of our networks so that commanders can rely on them,” said Ian West, chief of cyber security at the Nato communication agency.
When fully operational, the cyber centre aims to coordinate Nato’s cyber deterrent through a 70-strong team of experts fed with military intelligence and real-time information about hackers. — Reuters