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NATO primes cyber defence centre in Estonia

All quiet on the Eastern front?

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Seven NATO countries have backed the establishment of a new cyber warfare defence centre in Estonia. The Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (COE) is expected to swing into operation in August.

The centre will run research and training on cyber-warfare. Half of its staff of 30 will be specialists from the sponsoring countries, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spain. The US has agreed to send an observer.

Agreement to establish the centre comes a year after a major cyber attack on Estonian's internet infrastructure has prompted NATO to review its approach to cyber defences. Civil unrest in Estonia over the removal of Soviet-era memorials in April 2007 was accompanied by attacks against the Baltic nation’s internet infrastructure. Several Estonian government websites were taken offline as a result of sustained denial of service assaults, many of which were powered by networks of compromised PCs. Local banks and media outlets were also targeted.

NATO already covers nine other centres of excellence covering areas such as chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear defence and naval mine warfare.

So, it seems that coming under relentless attack from cyber-warriors can pay off in the long run. The same might not apply to chemical, bio, radiation and nuclear attack,

In related news, government ministers, technology luminaries and international cyber security experts from more than 40 countries are due to meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a conference between 20–23 May. The first World Cyber Security Summit will mark the launch of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Terrorism and is billed as the largest gathering of its type to date. ®

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