Session 9 Cyber threats in the EU s and NATO s new strategic context General Kees Homan: Introduction Political cyber attacks

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1 1 Session 9 Cyber threats in the EU s and NATO s new strategic context General Kees Homan: remarks prepared for the CCADD conference in Paris, September 2014 Introduction Cyberspace has become part of the daily life of many governments, citizens, industry etc. around the world. Cyber space can be defined as the sum of all ICT equipment and services, including all networks and other digital devices not connected to the internet. Moreover the global expansion of digital media, networks, and information and communications technologies (ICT s) might well become the most powerful technological revolution in the history of human kind. However, the benefits of this revolution come with risks and costs. Civil society, the private sector, governments, and militaries are increasingly dependent on networked ICT s, which creates new vulnerabilities to national, regional and global security. There are an estimated computer viruses in circulation daily, and a similar number of computers are compromised every day. The cost of cybercrime is hundreds of billions of euros every year. Cyber attacks on major international organizations and governments have become a daily reality. Political cyber attacks A lot of literature on cyber has been published during the last years. Thomas Rid considers political cyber attacks as sophisticated versions of three activities, namely sabotage, espionage and subversion. Sabotage can potentially damage machines or processes; espionage can be applied both political and commercial; and subversion can be implemented as activism or militancy online. In his book Cyber War Will Not Take Place, he states that we have to be cautious in using the expression cyber war. Rid insists on the violent character of war: an act of force has to be violent, instrumental and political. Not a single human being has yet been killed or hurt as a result of a cyber attack. Compared to any traditional act of force, a cyber attack helps diminish rather then accentuate violence. In the context of sabotage or espionage, it is now possible to either directly target systems without human operators or to exfiltrate information and data without necessary infiltrating human agents. In the context of subversion, the goal of a cyber attack is to undermine established authority in a non-violent way.

2 2 Cyber warfare Nevertheless, cyberspace is expected to be an important arena in every future conflict. Cyberspace can be regarded as a fifth theatre of operations, that interacts with the other four domains of military operation: land, sea, air and space. Activity in the other four domains, is now barely even possible without the use of digital equipment. From this perspective, Cyber warfare can be regarded as a force multiplier as part of a military operation that includes other (non-cyber) dimensions. Defensive and offensive cyber capability Cyber capabilities can be divided in defensive and offensive capabilities. Information assurance, or information protection, is central to cyber defence, and vital for organizations that use IT systems. Information-assurance practices and operational procedures need to be updated regularly to cope with changing threat environments. Planning and executing offensive cyber activity requires patience, strategic thinking and planning and sometimes luck: Russia was able to degrade Georgian tactical communications during the short war in August 2008, thanks to the Georgian armed forces previous decision to acquire Russia radio software. Attribution The problem of attribution (the identification of the perpetrators of a cyber attack) is a key factor in the discussion of policy on cyber weapons. An attacker can use a chain of hacked computers to conduct espionage or a botnet of infected computers to cause damage. Most well known are the DDoS attack and the botnet. A DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) is an attack in which a particular service (e.g. a website) can not be accessed by its customary users. A DDoS attack against a website is often carried out by saturating the website with network traffic so that it is unavailable. A botnet is a collection of infected computers controlled remotely from a central location. The inability to identify an aggressor makes launching a counterattack complicated.

3 3 Different types of operational cyber activities Defensive Activities - Securing/monitoring own networks (including weapons systems) - Network defence (passive defence) - Securing defence industry network connection - Network defence (passive defence) - Neutralising counterattack to protect systems (e.g. disrupting command & control of botnets or taking control of/sabotaging an agressor s system using malware) - Network attack (active defence) Intelligence Activities - Tapping/accessing internet traffic (interception of IP data or underlying protocols) - Network exploitation - Monitoring the volume and patterns of data traffic on foreign networks - Network exploitation - Clandestine penetration of systems to download data (e.g. by means of exploits) - Network exploitation - Counter-intelligence activities (e.g. manipulation or disruption of third-party cyber intelligence activities) - Network exploitation Offensive Activities - Psychological operations (e.g. communicating with the public or public authorities via a hacked network) - Network attack - Eliminating/disrupting the opponent s command, control and communication functions and other defence systems (distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks - Network attack - Destruction of critical infrastructure (e.g. influencing utility companies process management systems) - Network attack

4 4 Broad security (internal and external) Security has become wider than during the Cold War and its immediate aftermath. Today and tomorrow European security will be determined by a broad mix of threats and challenges, which will require different responses than in the past. External and internal security instruments will have to be increasingly connected, if the European Union and its member states want to deal effectively with those threats and challenges. The European Union, but also NATO, have identified cyber as one of those threats and challenges. This paper mainly focuses on the EU, but also pays some attention to NATO. European Union In February last year, the Cyber Security Strategy for the European Union, was published. The Strategy is accompanied by a legislative proposal (a Directive) from the European Commission to strengthen the security of information systems in the EU. The Directive, which I ll address later on, must still pass through the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament before adoption whilst the Cyber Security Strategy will remain as it is not legislation. The European Cyber Security Strategy: Too Big to Fail? The publication of the European Cyber Security Strategy reflects the awareness that co-ordinates across a range of policy domains in Europe which is necessary to respond the challenges like cyber security. The Strategy is remarkable to coordinate policy across three areas whose competences and mandates were formerly very separate: law enforcement, the Digital Agenda, and defence, security, and foreign policy (High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton). The Strategy has three aims: to strengthen the security and resilience of networks and information security systems, to prevent and fight cyber crime, and to establish a more coherent cyber security policy across Europe. An important aspect are efforts to harmonize the cyber security capabilities of EU member states. This has been defined as ensuring that EU countries properly equip themselves to tackle network and information security. The strategy will require, that each EU member state possess a well-functioning national-level computer emergency response team (CERT) and a competent authority to speak on behalf of the country in European-level discussions. The strategy also aims to strengthen cooperation between the public and private actors, encourage the development of public-private partnerships, and take advantage of other initiatives, such as the European Public-Private Partnership for Resilience (EP3R).

5 5 The third goal of the strategy around cyber defence policy is aimed at developing capabilities in the EU, encouraging dialogue and co-operation between the military and civilian sectors. Finally, the European Cyber Security Strategy also brings under one framework the contributions of defence and foreign policy to cyber security. This calls for promoting cyber security co-ordination between the military and civil sides, Catherine Ashton, the EU s high representative for foreign and security, said when announcing the new policy. We have been working through the EDA to enhance the capability that we have, and one of the aspects is how to translate that into support for civilian use. It s also part of the dialogue we are having with NATO. This is perhaps the most noteworthy characteristic, given that defence and security are policy domains in which EU member states have traditionally been highly protective of their sovereignty. The strategy calls for concepts, structures and capabilities for cyber defence at the EU level. To support this, RAND Europe provided the European Defence Agency with a benchmarks assessment of the levels of military cyber defence capability across the EU and plenty of opportunities for member states to seek advice and assistance across a range of domains of military capability, such as doctrine, organization, training, and interoperability. Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Cyber security is also an integral part of the European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), but is less developed compared to the cybercrime and critical information infrastructure protection activities. CFSP falls also under the mandate of the European External Action Service. The European Union plays an important role in setting and discussing norms and debating resilience measures to support member states. However, in terms of technical, legal and political harmonized measures, there are still significant differences between individual member states and EU institutions. Despite its civilian orientation, the European Union is nevertheless an important player in relation to the United States and security organizations within Europe, such as NATO and the OSCE. Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the European Defence Agency (EDA) is developing cyber defence capabilities and technologies, improving cyber defence training & exercises. Given that threats are multifaceted, synergies between civilian and military approaches in protecting critical cyber assets should be enhanced.

6 6 Civil-military aspects The role of the military in defending against cyber risks has yet to be fully defined and understood. As threats are multifaceted, synergies between civilian and military approaches in protecting critical cyber assets should be enhanced. Europe s Military Cyber Defenses The EDA presented on 24 May 2013 results of its stocktaking study of military cyber defence capabilities, which was prepared by RAND Europe. The study benchmarks the degree of Cyber Defence Readiness of 20 participating Member States. As individual country profiles were classified, they could not be made available. The exercise shows a mixed picture with respect to military cyber defence capabilities, on national as well on the European level. The study emphasizes, that military cyber defence on the European level is at a relative early stage of maturity. The study makes high-level recommendations such as enhancing EU network protection, strengthening intelligence capability, deepening incident response capabilities, creating a culture of cyber security, promulgating security standards and tools, and reinforcing links between NATO and the EU for cyber defence issues. To avoid duplication, the EU will explore possibilities on how the EU and NATO can complement their efforts to heighten the resilience of critical governmental, defence and other information structures on which the member of both organizations depend. On the national level, it is recommended that greater attention should be given to the development of cyber defence training and education initiatives. The study encourages participating Member States to consider exchanging information on equipment solutions and Pooling & Sharing for cyber defence capabilities, and on processes and shared escalation procedures, especially EU-led missions. The study also suggests participating Member States consider sharing to a certain extent facilities and to take into account interoperability aspects of cyber defence. National solutions Nowadays, the majority of all EU Member States have some kind of national efforts to secure critical networks and to respond to cyber threats. National cyber security efforts can be divided into two general categories: those involving only domestic agencies (usually communications ministries or law enforcement agencies) and those where the national military also has a cyber security role. One example of the first category is The Czech Republic and two examples of the second category are Germany and the Netherlands.

7 7 Structural solutions In order to respond to cyber threats in a constantly changing environment, EU Member States need to have flexible and dynamic cyber security strategies. The cross-border nature of threats makes it essential to focus on strong international cooperation. Cooperation at pan-european level is necessary to effectively prepare for, but also respond to, cyber-attacks. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) considers comprehensive national cyber security strategies as the first step in this direction. The way forward Coordination, collaboration, dialogue and information sharing are the buzzwords within the EU in the field of cyber security. But cyber security is still mainly a free for all business. EU member states still have a different level of awareness regarding cyber threats. Also in terms of countering those threats: some member states are quite advanced in their technological competence as well as internal structures, while others are much less so, as different studies have highlighted. The European Union should play an important role in setting and discussing norms and debating resilience measures to support member states. However, in terms of technical, legal and political harmonized measures, there are still significant differences between individual member states and EU institutions. Although the European Cyber Security Strategy has received a great deal of attention because of its comprehensive character, two significant issues are important. First, institutional turf wars should be ended in order for the Strategy to become a practical reality. As is well known, inter-institutional battles between different directorates can be discouraging. Second, the Strategy will undoubtedly need an accompanying action plan to detail how it will work in practice. International cooperation Different studies have made clear that EU member states need to have flexible and dynamic cyber security strategies. It is obvious that the cross-border nature of threats makes it essential to focus on strong international cooperation. This has been recognized by most national cyber security strategies. Cooperation at the pan-european level is necessary to effectively prepare for, but also to respond to cyber-attacks. ENISA considers comprehensive national security strategies as the first step in this direction. And the RAND Europe study emphasizes that military cyber defence on the European level is still at a relatively early stage of maturity. But most important is the political will, which is required to implement all the recommendations which are made in these studies. The national implementation of EU-binding rules which will be

8 8 included in the Commission s proposed Directive is necessary to make cyber security a practical reality in the EU in the near future. The aim of the proposed Directive is to ensure a high common level of network and information security (NIS) across the EU. Ensuring NIS is vital to boost trust and to the smooth functioning of the EU internal market. Regulatory obligations are required to create a level playing field and close existing legislative loopholes. According to this proposal: Member States will have to put in place a minimum level of national capabilities by establishing NIS national competent authorities, by setting up well-functioning Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), and by adopting national NIS strategies and national NIS cooperation plans; NIS national competent authorities will have to exchange information and to cooperate so as to counter NIS threats and incidents; operators of critical infrastructure (such as energy, transport, banking, stock exchange, healthcare), key Internet enablers (e-commerce platforms, social networks, etc) and public administrations will be required to assess the risks they face and to adopt appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure NIS. These entities will also be required to report to competent authorities incidents with a significant impact on core services provided. NATO NATO s fundamental cyber defence responsibility is to defend NATO s own communication and information systems. The first NATO attention for cyber defence goes back to It was during the 2002 Prague Summit that NATO placed cyber defence on the political agenda for the first time. The summit marked the start of a Cyber Defence Program within NATO. As Estonia suffered a massive cyber attack in 2007, Estonia s banks, newspapers and government servers were crippling. Though Russia denied responsibility, NATO s response was to adopt at the Bucharest Summit a cyber defence concept and a cyber defence policy. As a result the NATO Cyber Defence Management Authority was established and the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia, were established. The Alliance has implemented last year NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) centralized protection at NATO Headquarters, Commands and Agencies. This is a major upgrade of NATO s protection against the cyber threat. NATO networks in the 51 NATO locations that make up NATO Headquarters, the NATO Command Structure and NATO Agencies are under

9 9 comprehensive 24/7 surveillance and protected by enhanced sensors and intrusion technologies. While NATO s primary role in the cyber domain is to defend its own networks, in 2013 the Alliance broadened its efforts to address cyber threats. For the first time, cyber defence has been included in NATO s defence planning process. This will help to ensure that Allies have the basic organization, capabilities and interoperability to assist each other in the event of cyber attacks. NATO also continued to feature cyber defence scenarios in its exercises, training and education. In June 2013, at their first meeting dedicated to cyber defence, NATO defence ministers agreed that the Alliance s cyber defence capability should be fully operational by the autumn. This includes the establishment of Rapid Reaction Teams to help protect NATO s own systems. NATO s annual Cyber Coalition exercise was held in November 2013 and included the participation of seven partner countries and the European Union. During the exercise, 400 national and NATO cyber defence experts participated remotely from their locations, and 80 experts participated from Tartu, Estonia where the exercise was hosted. Concluding remark Cyberspace presents something of a paradox in its tendency to foster both great opportunity and significant threat. It is expected to be an important arena in every future conflict. Strategists have a grand strategic vision of cyberspace which can assist states in navigating the informational turbulence in which contemporary international politics appears to find itself. Strategists have an opportunity to address the benefits of cyberspace as much as its threats. A true strategic sensibility demands that long-term interests prevail over short-term opportunism. The EU and NATO can play with their evolving strategies an important role in this field. One of the conclusions of the EU Council on CSDP on December was: As new security challenges continue to emerge, Europe's internal and external security dimensions are increasingly interlinked. To enable the EU and its Member States to respond, in coherence with NATO efforts, the European Council calls for: an EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework in 2014, on the basis of a proposal by the High Representative, in cooperation with the Commission and the European Defence Agency. Will be continued!

10 10 References Betz, David J, and Stevens Tim, Cyberspace and the State Toward a Strategy for Cyber-Power, The International Institute for Strategic Studies. London, November 2011 Clarke, Richard A., and Knake, Robert K., CYBER WAR The next threat to national security and what to do about it, HarperCollins Publishers, 2010 Cornish, Paul, Livingstone, David, Clemente, Dave, and York, Claire, On Cyber Warfare, Chatham House, London, November 2010 Cyber Warfare, Advisory Council on International Affairs, The Hague, December 2011 Drent, Margriet, Homan, Kees, and Zandee, Dick, Civil-Military Capacities for European Security, Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, The Hague, December 2013, pp Ducheine, Paul, Osinga, Frans, Soeters, Joseph (eds.), Cyber Warfare Critical Perspectives, T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague, 2012 Measuring cyber capability: emerging indicators, The Military Balance 2014, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, February 2014, pp Rid, Thomas, Cyber War Will Not Take Place, Hurst & Company, London, 2013

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