Maryland and Estonian Civilians Take Up Arms Against Hackers

Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand said a close parallel to her nation’s cyber reserve is the new Maryland program.

Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand said a close parallel to her nation’s cyber reserve is the new Maryland program. Kaimo Puniste/TEDx Tartu

Baltic nation’s ambassador likens her country’s volunteer cyber corps to the U.S. National Guard netwarfare squad.

Maryland has started a volunteer netwarfare squad that the Estonian ambassador likens to her country's groundbreaking civilian cyber reserve, which was assembled after neighboring Russia allegedly shut down the former Soviet state's Internet access in 2007.

The "denial of service attack" paralyzed key industry and government networks for two weeks, and U.S. officials have warned that a similar Internet blackout could happen here soon.

Maryland's 175th Network Warfare Squadron is part of the state's Air National Guard. The squad "provides operational technical, analytical and language support to Air Force and national efforts to identify and mitigate cyber intrusion activities on Department of Defense networks," Maj. Wayde Minami, Maryland Air National Guard public affairs officer, said in an email. 

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would position a National Guard "Cyber and Computer Network Incident Response Team" in every state.  Members of the National Guard Association of the United States backed the measure. They noted that the "bill creates the teams by shifting positions and operations and maintenance funds to the Guard. No new budgetary authority would be created. Defense officials, according to the Guard association, oppose the conditions, arguing the teams would sap resources from department cyber efforts. 

At a Georgetown University global cybersecurity summit in April, Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand said a close parallel to her nation’s cyber reserve is the new Maryland program. Estonia's familiarity with the National Guard of the east coast state stems back to a partnership that began after the fall of the Soviet Union.  Since 1993, Maryland has helped Estonia transition to an independent nation and the pair now help one another promote stability and democratic principles.

In 2011, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves told Nextgov that the country's then-new “white-hatted hacker organization” gathers information technology professionals from banks, insurance companies and other private businesses who want to do something "defense-related" during the evenings or on weekends. “Since we live in this modern era, it's not only riding around in the woods with guns,” Ilves explained. “So why don't we set this thing up where you can volunteer and we will support you materially to work on defense? It's only about three months old but it’s widely popular among geeks.”

But there is some concern about cybersecurity firms or extremist groups becoming cyber mercenaries. At the Georgetown conference, Eric Rosenbach, the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, said Defense does not want a cyber "militia." 

Minami responded, "I assume the concern is about local groups forming ad hoc bands of 'cyber warriors' that have no legal authority to exist. This is definitely not the case with the 175th Network Warfare Squadron, which is a federally recognized military unit, just like any other in the Air National Guard.”

Homeland Security Department officials have been supportive of the concept of a National Guard-like band of cyber specialists to ensure capable professionals are on tap in times of national crises. 

The House also has attempted galvanizing a formal cyber national guard. A 2002 law permits Homeland Security to create a volunteer “NET Guard” for cyber response. An attempt at cybersecurity reforms last year would have required that DHS officials consider using grants to get the effort going and maintain it through a “national volunteer experts registry system.”

(Image via Flickr user tedxtartu)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.