13 Nations Trained in Protecting Critical Information Infrastructure

Officials from 13 nations were educated on the significant role critical information infrastructure plays in military operations in Tallinn last week. The inaugural Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Course looked at the issues in terms of security and economic stability.

“Critical information infrastructure is vital to all nations. In protecting these systems, the governments are not only ensuring the availability of drinking water and sanitation or electrical services, they are facilitating a modern way of life,” says Sven Sakkov, Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the international military organization hosting the course.

“We are increasingly dependent on information and communication technology. Protection of critical information infrastructure requires judicious rigor at all levels of the government, both military and civilian,” notes course instructor Fred Ruonavar, Chief of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program at the United States Defense Information Systems Agency. “This course equipped mid-level managers with the skills and tools to analyse and prioritize operational requirements and therefore assess the importance of information infrastructure.”

The Critical Information Infrastructure Protection course included perspectives from NATO organizations, national and international legal considerations, private sector security views, and technical insights, including an information infrastructure hacking demonstration. The course was designed and developed in cooperation between the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCD COE), the United States Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and U.S European Command (EUCOM). Participants also had an opportunity to experience hands on demonstrations at Tallinn Water, Estonia’s largest water treatment plant, and the Republic of Estonia Information System Authority.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence provides a 360-degree look at cyber defence, with expertise in the areas of technology, strategy, operations and law. The Tallinn-based international military organisation focuses on interdisciplinary applied research, as well as consultations, training and exercises in the field of cyber security. Belgium the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States are signed on as Sponsoring Nations of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. Austria and Finland have become Contributing Participants, a status available for non-NATO nations. The joining process of Sweden is being finalized.