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Credit: NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence

Credit: NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence

Australia joins the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence

On 23 April, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop MP announced that Australia is becoming a participating member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE).

The move aims to boost Australia’s cybersecurity capabilities against hostile attacks as well foster international cooperation in cyber defence.

The NATO CCDCOE is multinational and interdisciplinary hub of world-leading cyber defence expertise based in Tallinn, Estonia.

“Now, more than ever, we must engage with the international community to set clear expectations for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. The international rules-based order applies online, just as it does offline,” Minister Bishop stated.

To support Australia’s participation in the NATO CCDCOE, Australia is opening its first pop-up embassy in Tallinn. The Embassy will have a temporary presence of 12 months.

An Australian Defence Force member will be seconded to the Centre for a three-month period each year.

This year, Australia will take part as an observer nation in CCDCOE’s annual Locked Shields exercise, the world’s largest and most advanced international live-fire cyber defence exercise.

The annual exercise is a unique opportunity for national cyber defenders to practise protection of national IT systems and critical infrastructure under the intense pressure of a severe cyberattack. This year’s Locked Shields is scheduled to take place from 23 April to 27 April. It will highlight the growing need to enhance dialogue between various experts and decision-making levels.

The exercise is organised by CCDCOE in cooperation with the Estonian Defence Forces, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Swedish Defence University, the British Joint Army, the United States European Command, National Security Research Institute of the Republic of Korea and Tallinn University of Technology.

Industry partners in the exercise include Siemens AG, Ericsson, Bittium, Goodmill, Threod Systems, Cyber Test Systems, Clarified Security, Iptron, Bytelife, BHC Laboratory, openvpn.net, GuardTime and numerous others.

Other than efforts to boost cybersecurity capabilities, Minister Bishop also iterated that the country “should not lose sight of the fact that digital technologies are also profound enablers of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth”.

As such, Australia launched a project, funded by Australia’s Cyber Cooperation Program, to increase digital service delivery among governments in the Indo-Pacific region. The Estonia E-Governance Academy and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute will jointly deliver the project.

According to the official press release, these initiatives are practical fulfilment of the commitment in Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy to promote an open, free and secure Internet which drives economic growth, enhances our national security and fosters international stability.

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