Latvia Creates Civilian Cyber Defense Unit

Monday, March 10, 2014 @ 04:03 PM gHale


Stuxnet was not the first attack on a nation’s infrastructure and it will hardly be the last, so with that backdrop, there is very little surprise the tiny country, Latvia, will launch its own cyber security defense unit, especially with the current situation in Ukraine.

Stuxnet was a targeted attack against the Natanz nuclear facility by the United States and Israel that caused damage to facility and set Itran’s nuclear program back a couple of years. The newly established unit in Latvia is part of the voluntary military organization National Guard of Latvia, and currently consists of 13 cyber security experts drawn from both the private and public sector, according to a report in to Deutsche Welle.

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Acting as a civil defense league of sorts, these are people that work for their own or third-party companies, and some of them are still students, but in the case of a cyber attack against Latvia’s infrastructure, they are ready collaborate with Latvia’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (CERT.LV).

The latter operates under the country’s Ministry of Defense, and can get help from over 600 IT experts working from the government – both at the national and local level. Nevertheless, this team is not capable of responding to a cyber attack aimed at the country’s infrastructure and government systems.

“People who apply to join the Cyber Defense Unit are checked before they get clearance for classified information. And that’s why we are able to involve the cyber guards in cases where very sensitive information is involved,” said Baiba Kaškina, the head of CERT.LV.

The members of the Cyber Defense Unit train together as any other army, and their training consists of cyberwar games and exercises.

The plan is to expand the unit to 100 guards in the next couple of years, and to create a similar team consisting only of teenagers, which seems a good way to grow the unit organically.



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