When one talks about Cyber security and Cyber attacks, the thought of people coming together and working as a team to find out what exactly happened and learning ways of how such threats could be prevented in the future often come to mind. After all, we all are potential victims to the Cyber attacker, nobody is immune, not one business/corporation or even individual.
In these efforts, the importance of working together as a team is of grave importance. After all, we need to share intelligence in order to find out whom we are working against in this virtual world. We are dealing with an enemy that cannot be seen, unless of course they are apprehended by law enforcement.
But, in a stunning move that was just announced a couple of days ago, it seems like that Germany wants to break away from this teamwork effort with the United States. According to news headlines, Germany is going to create its own Cyber intelligence organization, and end its reliance totally upon the United States when it comes to obtaining new Security technologies.
The United States is not the only country that has been blacklisted, so has been China and other countries not yet mentioned. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer even mentioned to the press that his country needs new tools to counter Cyber terrorism, and has grand plans of becoming a top leader in this area for Europe.
According to his own words: “It is our joint goal for Germany to take a leading role in cyber security on an international level . . . we have to acknowledge we’re lagging behind, and when one is lagging, one needs completely new approaches.” (SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-cyber/germany-seeking-independence-from-u-s-pushes-cyber-security-research-idUSKCN1LE1FX).
The newly created Cyber intelligence agency would be a joint effort between both the Interior and the Defense of Ministry. Government officials even acknowledge that the country is a prime victim Cyber attacks, on both its corporate and non business sectors. But, there are huge oppositions towards the government’s new action of breaking away and trying to go off on its own.
This quote best summarizes this point of view: “This [new] agency wouldn’t increase our information technology security, but further endanger it.” (SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-cyber/germany-seeking-independence-from-u-s-pushes-cyber-security-research-idUSKCN1LE1FX).
In other words, the opposition strongly feels that any offensive capabilities taken by this newly created agency would only further undermine any efforts to work out diplomatic solutions in the future on the war on Cyber terrorism. They feel that not enough thought is being given to the long term, but only that they are being blindsided by short terms needs.
But it is not only Germany that echoes these same views, other European countries as well feel more or less the same way. Why is this the case? They are simply worried about relying too much upon technology and other forms of help. They feel that with the broad powers of the US Patriot Act, their own information and data will be at further risk.
In other words, they are fearful that with technology procured from the United States, they (the European countries) will be at risk of having to give up control of their own digital infrastructure to the Trump Administration, and being forced to hand over sensitive information and data.
My thoughts on this?
To a certain degree, I can see the view points of the German government. The prime reason for this is that our own country is in a total state of disarray, thanks largely to Trump and his cronies. Heck, they can’t even appoint a special “Cyber Security Czar” to oversee matters, efforts, and policies that are trying to be shaped up to fight the Cyber attacker.
In fact, Trump himself cannot foster a sense of team work with the international community, given his “renegade” tactics and isolationist words.
But, what I don’t agree with the German government is trying to break away from a team infrastructure that is so urgently needed to fight Cyber terrorism. We need to stand tall as an international community to fight off Cyber threats. We need to have the ability to share intelligence and gather data with other countries around the world.
Let me put it this way: What if this newly formed German agency received intelligence that another 9/11 style Cyber attack was currently being planned for a major US city, and they don’t share it with us? And, what if this incident really does happen?
In closing, I want to add to my Security model. I have already talked about two components of it thus far, which is Human Vigilance and Technology. The third component of this new triad is having great team work.