Ambassador Sorin Ducaru at CYBERSEC Forum in Krakow: Cyber security entails changing the way of thinking

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One of the problems we are currently facing in the field of cyber security is the cognitive gap, the translation of technical language into political language, Ambassador and Assistant NATO Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Sorin Ducaru, said on Tuesday at the CYBERSEC Forum in Krakow.

“We must continue to update our way of thinking, to constantly improve our skills and to understand that we live in a global environment, where the battlefield is increasingly a digital one, while we tend to have older reflexes, of analogous type,” said Ambassador Sorin Ducaru.

Speaking about how NATO has strengthened its cyber security capabilities, Sorin Ducaru stressed that, in a first phase, in 2002, at the Prague Summit, NATO addressed the subject of cyber security at the level of government leaders, but approached it like any other field, as a technical issue.

Only in 2007, following the actions against Estonia, did the strategic, political debate on cyber defense reach the North Atlantic Council. “After the 2007 attacks against Estonia, the main conclusion was that NATO must tackle cyber defense in terms of politics, and that led, in 2008, to NATO’s founding document in cyber defense, which introduced the principles of cyber defense and also set out clear benchmarks for protecting NATO systems and guidelines for protecting national systems,” said Sorin Ducaru.

“NATO realized that cyber attacks can reach a level from where these can be as damaging as conventional attacks, a level from which the allies, under Article Four, should respond as a collective alliance,” said Sorin Ducaru. As a result, in 2016, at the Warsaw Summit, NATO adopted an investment promise in the field of cyber defense at the level of state and government heads, inspired by the promise on defense investments, but without attaching a concrete number, but only recognizing the need to bring cyber security discussion to a strategic level and to prioritize cyber defense investment. It also recognized cyber space as a field of operations in which NATO must defend itself as effectively as in the other three areas (land, naval and air).

“NATO’s defense mandate remains unchanged. As in other areas, what NATO is doing is in line with international law. NATO, as an organization, will not develop or acquire any capabilities other than pure defensive ones. But as in other areas, such as air, land, or naval, it can rely on voluntary contributions provided by a wide range of capabilities from allies to support the Alliance’s operations and missions,” Ambassador Sorin Ducaru said.