Finland to join cyber-defence effort of NATO
Alliance experts to train Finns against online attacks
Finland might soon be working with NATO in the defence of data systems against hostile or malicious acts.
There are plans for cooperation with a NATO unit set up in the Estonian capital Tallinn. The unit is specialised in defending data networks against cyber-attacks.
The government’s ministerial committee on foreign and security policy decided on Friday that preparations by civil servants for starting cooperation would be continued.
At the beginning of the year Finland and Sweden, both of which are not NATO members, but which nevertheless participate in the Partnership for Peace programme, were invited to join the effort. Previously, only full NATO members were involved in the work of the “centre of excellence”.
The purpose of the centre is to help NATO develop methods to fight against attacks that threatening data systems.
Such hostile action could include sabotage of a country’s data networks, or electricity grids through online attacks.
Most of the work of the centre involves information exchange and training.
Finland does not have a cyber-defence centre of its own. Instead, various officials coordinate their activities in this regard, says Markku Nikkilä of the Ministry of Defence.
Possible participants in the effort could include experts of the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), says Rauli Parmes, head of security at the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Parmes says that it remains open what role the Finnish participants would have. For instance, FICORA itself is too busy to make any new commitments.
No permanent personnel can be sent to the centre from countries outside NATO, says Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where she is responsible for Partnership for Peace activities.
A considerable impetus leading to the establishment of NATO’s cyber defence centre came in the spring of 2007 when the dispute over the location of a Soviet war monument in Tallinn led to online denial of service attacks against Estonia, which shut down the web pages of the Estonian government for several days.
Georgia experienced similar attacks during fighting with Russia last year.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Organiser of Internet DoS attacks arrested in Estonia (7.5.2007)
NATO News May 14, 2008: NATO opens new centre of excellence on cyber defence