The European Union faces the same formidable increase in cyber attacks as the United States—but comes up against issues compounded by disparate national laws and cybersecurity expertise, experts say. While technology might lead to some of the security lapses, humans certainly contribute to the problem.
Emergency responders may be able to anticipate unfolding disasters before they have to respond, as a result of a new system that combines situational input with simulation. When floodwaters are rising or a fire is spewing toxic fumes, emergency personnel can simulate in real time how the threat might expand and evolve and plan their responses accordingly.
The United States is in the midst of preparing its largest intelligence hub outside of its own national borders. The center will accommodate operations with reach into several global areas, including those rife with anti-terrorism operations.
U.K. government entities at various levels are looking into bring-your-own-device policies for their purposes. And while their mandates differ, they all have one factor in common—a need for the right level of security.
Mining big data for salient information points presents a plethora of challenges, but in Europe a different issue with the action has emerged as a concern. Regulations prohibiting researchers and others from searching through the data in certain documents are putting countries on the continent at a competitive disadvantage in a number of fields, studies are revealing. With several economies there already in dire straits, the legal encumbrances could add to difficulties in improving financial situations.
Cyber, defense technology, coalition interoperability, NATO contracting opportunities and Ukraine were among the topics discussed at the NATO Industry Conference and TechNet International 2014, held in Bucharest, Romania. For the third time, the NATO Communications and Information Agency and AFCEA Europe organized a joint conference and exposition. The two organizations generated a program with an agenda of truly intertwined sessions relevant to all.
Estonia has established a dedicated cyberdefense infrastructure and implemented new policies that are serving as models for other allied nations gearing up for potential cyber attacks. The Estonian measures come in the wake of the Baltic nation undergoing a severe cyber attack in 2007.
Defenders of cyberspace need to concentrate on the critical services provided by the critical infrastructure, not the infrastructure itself, according to a leading cyber expert. Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies and former acting senior director for cyberspace with the National Security Council, said that the future of the West is held hostage to the fact that its security and resilience are threatened.
Even with the rising tide of nation-sponsored cyber attacks, NATO does not yet have a policy—let alone a definition—of what constitutes a cyber attack that would mandate a response under Article 5 of the alliance’s Washington Treaty, according to NATO officials. Article 5 defines an attack on a NATO member as “an attack on all,” requiring a response by all members against an aggressor.
Companies Deep-Secure and Sweetwater s.r.l. signed a contract earlier this month that will extend cybersecurity measures in the Romanian market. The move should help address common cybercrime issues prevalent in former Eastern Bloc nations.
Representatives from the U.S. Army and Air Force, along with 17 NATO nations and three partner nations, will participate in a joint reconnaissance trial in Norway this month to test and evaluate intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance concepts and technologies.
In the coming months, extremists fighting in the Syrian civil war likely will begin returning to Europe, funneling through the Balkans where they can find cheap weapons, like-minded allies and temporary accomplices in the form of organized criminal groups. Conditions are ripe, according to experts, for those individuals to spread across Europe, launching terrorist attacks on major cities.
China and Russia represent two of the most robust, comprehensive concerns to worldwide stability. Almost every major geostrategic threat—cyber attack, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, capable military forces, political influence, economic power, sources of and high demand for energy—is resident in those two countries that often find themselves at odds with the United States and its allies.
The Defense Department drive toward its Joint Information Environment is picking up speed as it progresses toward its goal of assimilating military networks across the warfighting realm. Individual services are developing solutions, some of which are targeted for their own requirements, that are being applied to the overarching goal of linking the entire defense environment.
Even though the Cold War has ended and the monolithic threat against the West has disappeared, the relationship between Europe and the United States remains vital. Europe includes some of the United States’ strongest coalition partners and alliances; the two economies are closely tied and interdependent; and defense and security in Europe are evolving rapidly, just as in the United States. AFCEA chapters and members outside the United States number the greatest in Europe.
Romania has opted to extend its force modernization period rather than cut important purchases as it deals with its version of the global budget crisis. Despite suffering from the severe economic downturn that began more than five years ago, the Black Sea country continues to upgrade its military with the goal of being a significant security force in an uncertain region.
NATO’s efforts to defend against terrorism now are focusing on cyberspace as a tool of terrorists instead of merely as a vulnerability for striking at alliance nations and their critical infrastructure. These efforts cover aspects of cyber exploitation that range from understanding terrorists’ behavior to how they might use social media.
Europe’s defense markets have been contracting for the past decade because of the continent’s financial crisis and national priorities shifting away from military spending. But while fewer tanks and fighter jets are being acquired, money is being spent on modernizing computers and communications equipment—a trend that will continue into the foreseeable future, according to an industry analyst.
NATO is adopting an enterprise approach to networking so it can take advantage of new defense information system capabilities as well as recent developments gleaned from Southwest Asia operations. This approach would allow different countries participating in alliance operations to network their own command, control and communications systems at the onset of an operation.
NATO and eight coalition nations participating in the Coalition Warrior Interoperability eXploration, eXperimentation and eXamination, eXercise (CWIX) are working to reduce the amount of time it takes to join coalition networks in the future. On average, it took a year or more for a nation to join the Afghan Mission Network, but officials hope to trim that down to a matter of weeks, says Lt. Col, Jenniffer Romero, USAF, the CWIX Future Mission Network focus area lead.