A gray area between the state of war and peace has emerged over the past few years. Intimidation through the use of threats of armed aggression has taken a back seat to the acts of cyber aggression as a means of political pressure. Last week Nordic regional governments met to discuss on topics that included cyber security. The Foreign Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden met in Reykjavik on 8-9 June 2009 to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in the areas of foreign affairs and security policy. Acting individually, Nordic countries have limited capacity to address the growing threat of cyber warfare. The Nordic countries agreed to work collaboratively to enhance, maintain and promote their exceptionally high level of society-wide cyber security. This cooperative agreement will focus on the National Computer Emergency Response Teams and other authorized information security incident response authorities across the Nordic region.
Finland announced the formation of a cyber unit. The unit is expected to be fully functional by early 2011 and will operate 24/7/365 to defend against both civilian and military cyber attacks. The units primary mission will be monitoring data security, detecting attacks and coordinate counter-measures and response to attacks.
Finland Fun Facts:
Population -- 5,250,275
Area -- 338,145 sq km
Language -- Finish and Swedish
Currency -- Euro
Life Expectancy -- 78
GDP per Capita -- $37,200 USD (totaling $195 billion)
Defense Budget -- 1.3 percent of GDP
Finland is just one of many countries that have recognized the need to establish cyber defenses given the continued escalation of acts of cyber aggression. Currently, over 140 countries are estimated to have active cyber weapons programs with more being added monthly. Today governments, technology companies, the media, infrastructure providers and even our citizens are all targets of cyber attacks. One official I spoke with on the promise of anonymity said, We all need to learn a valuable lesson from the cyber attacks on Estonia and Georgia and that is cyber attacks constitute a real and significant threat to our governments and peace. Finland, the U.S. and many other countries are ramping up for the rapidly advancing cyber arms race and many are hoping they are not too late!