At a glance.
- The EU's rapid-reactions cyber force.
- NSA opens Cyber Collaboration Center.
- Skeptical takes on Russo-American cyber relations.
The EU is setting up a rapid-reaction cybersecurity force.
In keeping with NATO’s recent reaffirmation of “the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence,” and in line with the European Commission’s 2019 commitment to form a centralized cyber force, IT PRO says the EU is set to announce a Joint Cyber Unit headquartered in Brussels. The Unit will combine and coordinate the bloc’s cyber resources and deploy rapid response teams to combat breaches throughout the Union “in real-time.”
While the EU’s 2016 NIS Directive enhanced cross-bloc cooperation and info-sharing, this new “official recommendation” will establish the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity-run Joint Cyber Unit as the EU’s cybersecurity nerve center. At present, the majority of EU member states navigate cyber crises solo, notwithstanding the existence of some joint response teams, and inter-agency collaboration on infrastructure and investigations.
The Unit, which Politico reports should be up and running by the close of next year, will also arrange public-private intel-sharing compacts, threat reports, and crisis response plans, in addition to “a platform for cybercrime police, cyber agencies, diplomats, military services and cybersecurity firms to coordinate responses and share resources.”
Ilia Kolochenko, founder of ImmuniWeb and a member of Europol Data Protection Experts Network, sent us some comments on the EU's project:
“International collaboration is indispensable to curb surging cybercrime, thus, the EU initiative is a very promising project. We should, however, bear in mind that coordinated defense, response and eventual prosecution of cybercrime is virtually impossible without cohesive global cooperation. The EU countries may face the well-known challenges of foreign jurisdictions that continually refuse to extradite their citizens charged with cybercrime abroad. Moreover, modern nation-state hacking groups increasingly frame up some of their rivals (e.g. neighboring countries) by hacking their infrastructure and then proxying their attacks through the breached systems.
"Eventually, even the best forensic investigation will be misled and likely misattribute the attack. This uncertainty undermines cyber self-defense, as you risk counterattacking an innocent party, provoking further escalation and violating international law. Therefore, I think, the best way to protect EU countries from digital threats is to invest in national cyber resilience capacities, promote cybersecurity awareness among organizations of all sizes, and implement mandatory cyber education in schools and universities.”
NSA opens cyber collaboration center.
Across the pond, the US National Security Agency announced a new “off-campus” Cybersecurity Collaboration Center designed to facilitate cooperation with cloud computing, telecommunications, cybersecurity, and defense firms, according to Reuters. The Center launched in January and could increase Government visibility into legally off-limits domestic networks, threat actors’ favored staging ground. In turn, industry partners will profit from NSA’s intelligence and analysis. Participating companies were not named, but were selected on the basis of their market segment and share. "Cybersecurity is a team sport, and NSA is really just stepping up to play its position," said Center Chief Morgan Adamski.
Skeptical takes on the Russo-American summit.
Voluminous Russian disinformation aimed at damaging US democracy and inflaming social tensions, an opinion in The Hill argues, should have featured more prominently in the Geneva summit. To choke off Moscow’s “firehose of falsehood,” Washington could blacklist Russian propaganda outfits and invest in independent foreign journalism.
The Heritage Foundation critiques the summit as “essentially fruitless,” since “nothing of substance was agreed upon,” and history has not shown President Putin to be a man of his word. The Biden Administration’s tough talk on critical infrastructure, Roll Call adds, will need to be supported with tangible consequences. “We have boundaries that the Russians have agreed to now three times,” Center for Strategic and International Studies VP Jim Lewis observed. “Well…what’s changed?” Representative Jim Langevin (Democrat of Rhode Island) said President Putin is unlikely to “turn around tomorrow and arrest the hackers his government has been cozying up to for years.”
While Moscow and Beijing don’t generally fear US retaliation for cyber offenses, Lewis said President Biden seems more inclined to respond to norms violations than his predecessors, and is likely cultivating international support for a stronger rejoinder in the lead up to the next Russian attack.
And the head of Russia's FSB says that Russia intends to "work together" to hunt down cybercriminals, presumably in cooperation with "the US side." Reuters says the FSB hopes for reciprocity from the US, but of course these sorts of offers are commonplace. We shall see.