At a meeting to discuss cyber-defense, NATO defense ministers yesterday agreed to set up “quick-reaction defense teams” for when the alliance’s computer systems come under attack. “We are all closely connected so an attack on one ally, if not dealt with quickly and effectively, can affect us all,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the head of NATO, told the press in Brussels.
These are admirable words. But the focus of the new “teams”, whatever that means, will be only on computer networks owned and operated by NATO, not those of the member countries, rendering Rasmussen’s claim of Three-Musketeerish solidarity ineffective. As Reuters reports, larger member states seem unwilling to help out small countries (that is, ones that have less money to spend) when their domestic networks come under attack. One NATO diplomat told Reuters that it’s up to members to look after their own interests. Discussions about how the alliance can “support and assist allies” has been pushed to October.