NATO will enhance cyber interoperability among its members to boost collective resilience against “authoritarian regimes,” the alliance announced during its first annual Cyber Defence Conference in Berlin.
The organization said it will lay out plans to advance cyber capabilities against digital entities that “challenge” the alliance’s security and interests.
Although some of these “strategic competitors” are not considered adversaries, NATO recognizes the capacity of these parties to “shape” the digital landscape with concealed objectives and anti-human rights tactics.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained that the alliance could withstand threats from such regimes through joint cyber training and exercises — proof seen from Kyiv’s response to Moscow’s ongoing cyberattacks.
“When Russia mounted its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, their tanks and troops were supported by massive cyberattacks,” Stoltenberg stated.
“Ukraine was able to weather many of these attacks, not least because it has worked closely with NATO Allies for many years to strengthen its cyber defences.”
Boosting Private Sector Partnerships
Stoltenberg said another approach is to launch projects with allied private technology sectors to establish a coherent digital backbone and avoid reliance on equipment developed by authoritarian regimes.
“We have seen the results of relying on Russia for our energy supply,” he added. “We should not repeat this mistake by relying on China to provide the technology for our critical networks.”
“As we have seen in Ukraine, private companies… have become critical actors in their own right. They have responded to direct requests from Kyiv for help, uploaded whole government departments to the cloud, and used satellite networks for secure communications.”
Stoltenberg emphasized that cooperating with the allied companies is critical to maintaining defenses, as the absence of the industry makes it difficult to ensure national security.
“I know there are some in the private sector and private companies who think that cooperating with the military is somehow unethical,” Stoltenberg said.
“But there is nothing unethical about helping Ukraine defend its country, nothing unethical about defending our own nations, and nothing unethical about defending our freedom.”
Confirmation of a new directorate, military exercises, contracts, or cyber competency programs were not discussed.