Cyber threats and attacks are becoming more common, sophisticated and damaging. The Alliance is faced with an evolving complex threat environment. In recent events, cyber attacks have been part of hybrid warfare. NATO and its Allies rely on strong and resilient cyber defences to fulfil the Alliance’s core tasks of collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. NATO needs to be prepared to defend its networks and operations against the growing sophistication of the cyber threats and attacks it faces.
- Cyber defence is part of NATO’s core task of collective defence.
- NATO has affirmed that international law applies in cyberspace.
- NATO’s main focus in cyber defence is to protect its own networks (including operations and missions) and enhance resilience across the Alliance.
- In July 2016, Allies reaffirmed NATO’s defensive mandate and recognised cyberspace as a domain of operations in which NATO must defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land and at sea.
- Allies also made a Cyber Defence Pledge in July 2016 to enhance their cyber defences, as a matter of priority. Since then, almost all Allies have upgraded their cyber defences.
- NATO reinforces its capabilities for cyber education, training and exercises.
- Allies are committed to enhancing information-sharing and mutual assistance in preventing, mitigating and recovering from cyber attacks.
- NATO Cyber Rapid Reaction teams are on standby to assist Allies, 24 hours a day, if requested and approved.
- At the Brussels Summit in 2018, Allies agreed to set up a new Cyberspace Operations Centre as part of NATO’s strengthened Command Structure. They also agreed that NATO can draw on national cyber capabilities for its missions and operations.
- NATO and the European Union (EU) are cooperating through a Technical Arrangement on cyber defence that was signed in February 2016. In light of common challenges, NATO and the EU are strengthening their cooperation on cyber defence, notably in the areas of information exchange, training, research and exercises.
- NATO is intensifying its cooperation with industry through the NATO Industry Cyber Partnership.