Cyber defence is a computer network defence mechanism, which involves response to actions and critical organisation protection, including information security for government entities, organisations and other possible networks. Its main purpose is to prevent, detect and respond to attacks or threats, so that there is little to no risk of interference with information or infrastructure. It is especially important for corporations and governments, as it protects sensitive information as well as safeguarding assets.
Recent news stories have shone a light on the importance of cyber defence. The CIA, FBI and NSA speculated that Russian hackers meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, with the Department for Homeland Security stating that individuals linked to the Kremlin tried to infiltrate election-related computer systems in more than 20 US states. Although the authorities concluded that these individuals were scanning the systems for weaknesses, and that they didn’t influence the vote count, events like these really hone the importance of reliable cyber defence.
In addition to the US election hacking, the German government recently fell victim to a cyber-attack by Russian hacker group, Fancy Bear. The group orchestrated an extensive penetration of Germany’s government, which affected both foreign and defence ministries. German security sources state that as early as 2016, Fancy Bear deployed malicious software to infiltrate multiple agencies and steal data, breaking into the foreign and defence ministries, the Chancellery and Federal Court of Auditors. The group has also been linked to several high-profile cyber breaches, including breaches on the US Democratic National Committee and the International Olympic Committee. As well as Russia, North Korea, Iran and China have been blamed for cyber-attacks on the US and Europe.
Last year, the General Affairs Council called for the strengthening of European cyber security and the enhancing of cyber defence across the European Union, with the ministers urging the need for all EU countries to create the necessary resources and investment available to address cyber security. In addition, they emphasised the significant connection between trust in digital Europe and achieving cyber resilience across the EU. Given the ubiquity of cyber threats, NATO has also assured that cyber defence is one of its main priorities.
In our current digital age, the threat of cyberwar is arguably imminent. The internet may have created an abundance of liberties, but it has also generated many vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is essential that all corporations, governments, and entities with large amounts of sensitive information, invest in their cyber defence, as cyber defence allows organisations to carry out their duties without the worry of theft of information or infrastructure.
You can check out our entry for Cyber Defence in IATE down below:
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- MacAskill, E. (2018). UK warned that Russian threat requires increased defence spending. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/22/uk-faces-cyber-warfare-threat-on-battlefield-and-against-civilian-services [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
- Council of the European Union. Reform of cyber security in Europe. [online] Available at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/cyber-security [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
- Council on Foreign Relations. (2018). Russia, Trump, and the 2016 U.S. Election. [online] Available at: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/russia-trump-and-2016-us-election [Accessed 20 Mar. 2018].
Written by Emma Wynne – Journalism Trainee at TermCoord