Lynn: NATO Must Get Ahead of Cyber Threat

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Jan. 25, 2011 – Now is the time for NATO to get ahead of the cyber threat, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said here today.

“The cyber threat is still maturing,” he told reporters at the European Defense Agency. “I don’t think we’re at the final stage of what that threat may look like.”

NATO’s November summit in Lisbon, Portugal, crystallized NATO thinking about the cyber threat, Lynn said. The alliance’s thinking has evolved a long way from April 2007, he said, when Estonia suffered a massive denial-of-service attack. The decisions the alliance is making now are informed by that attack and similar experiences in Georgia in 2008, as well as by the constant attacks on U.S. and NATO military networks.

Cyber threats have increased in numbers and sophistication, Lynn said. The “first phase” threat is “really concentrated on exploitation –- that’s threats of intellectual property, stealing military secrets, espionage,” he explained.

Exploitation has moved beyond that toward the threat of denial of service, Lynn said.

“That’s really what Estonia and Georgia were about -– that’s an escalation of the potential threat,” he said, adding that he sees a potential third-phase threat.

“The potential exists for capabilities that are much more destructive,” he added, noting that this threat could target transportation or financial networks.

“We’re largely in the exploitation/denial phase, but history will tell you that somebody will take it to the extreme,” Lynn said. “That’s a significant reason to act now – to get ahead of that kind of threat.”

The United States and NATO need to put in place appropriate protections for critical networks before the threat matures, Lynn said.

“The discussion for NATO today is the threshold step — we need to be able to protect our own military networks, and we’re frankly not there yet,” he said. “I think until you are able to do that, it’s hard to look beyond for any other capabilities.”

NATO nations are moving quickly and taking the threats to cybersecurity seriously, he said. The discussion in the alliance six months ago was what constituted an attack, he noted, and now the discussion is less on that than on just moving forward with defenses.

Lynn said the discussion of the definition of an attack always will be around –- especially what constitutes an attack under Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which declares that an attack on one alliance member is an attack on all –- but planners are moving beyond this and simply addressing the threats.

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic.Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

is 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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