NATO creates cyberdefense team

NATO has set up a new Cyber Defense Management Authority that will coordinate the safeguarding of its own and member states' computer infrastructures against cyberattack.

The new organization will coordinate all NATO cybersecurity activities to protect its information and communication systems and offer assistance to NATO's 26 member states in North America and Europe, NATO said in a news release. NATO has maintained an internal cyber response capability since 2002.

The authority is expected to create a NATO cybercommand center to help member states during cyberattacks. The chief of the new authority is expected to be Maj. Gen. Georges D'Hollander, who runs NATO's internal cyberdefenses.

Under corresponding policies, NATO's members will work to protect their separate information technology systems, share best practices and develop capabilities to assist one another on request against cyberattack.

As part of the new emphasis on cybersecurity, NATO has established a cybercenter of excellence in Estonia.

In the future, NATO will continue to explore the potential to cooperate with other nations on cyberdefense, the news release said.

Cybersecurity has been an active and rapidly expanding area for government contractors for several years. Contractors provide government agencies with software, networks, devices, monitoring services and other tools to detect intrusions, identify errant applications and software and maintain strong user access controls.

The Bush Administration is spending about $6 billion a year on cybersecurity for the U.S. government and is asking for major increases in cyberbudgets in fiscal 2009.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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