In Bruz, last Monday, France announced that they are building their first ever cyber-warfare army unit. They have aimed their new unit towards countries in which have an increase in hacking abilities; since the real concern for cyber-terrorism continues to grow in Europe, Russia and United States.
The defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has recently linked the impact of hacker threats on warfare directly to the effects of the first aircraft on early 20th century conflicts.
“The emergence of a new area, a new cyber-battlefield, must make us rethink profoundly our way of approaching the art of war,” Le Drian states while unveiling a doctrine for the army of Northwest France.
According to Le Drian, the new approach of a cyberattack could in fact constitute an act of war, in which case, will ultimately require a more appropriate response from their new special unit, Cybercom.
If hackers are identified as coming from a country that has failed to stop them, “the responsibility of this state could be called into question,” stated Le Drian. “Our offensive cyber-capabilities must allow us to breach the systems and networks of our enemies to cause damage, service suspensions or temporary or definitive neutralizations.”
The French-based force will also work to identify foreign hackers, as well as find weaknesses within important military IT networks and infrastructures, such as those used to pilot drones. France’s latest announcement mirrors plans that have been drawn up by Britain. Furthermore, last month it was announced that the cyber-defence plan will be funded with 2.1 billion Euros for operations.
The new French unit will start development next month, and will open jobs for some 2,600 specialists by the time 2019 rolls around. While the concerns of cyberattacks against infrastructures and/or sensitive government networks continue to be of upmost concern, this intelligence agency is also increasingly concerned about hackers’ ability to spread propaganda or even misinformation.
The American media reported just last week that the CIA has concluded that Russia had direct involvement with the US election outcome – allegedly performed by hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s emails.
Joe Biden, the United States Vice President, has hinted that the US may in fact be making use of this newly enhanced French “digital arsenal.” However, any allegations of Russia’s involvement have been categorically denied by Moscow, along with Trump’s camp and also WikiLeaks.
The United States is now concerned that the new French developments will be shared amongst several western European nations, more specifically, the Baltic countries that border Russia.
However, the allegations of hacking activities have not been only restricted towards Russia, either. Other allegations involve the United States and Israel; both believed to be the culprits behind the massive Stuxnet worm – maliciously sabotaging the Iranian nuclear infrastructure in 2010. However, no one has claimed responsibility behind the Stuxnet attack as yet.
On another front, Russia announced only this week that plans were uncovered for a massive cyberattack against the country’s financial system.
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