TALLINN - Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who spoke on April 9 as one of the heads of state of the European Union member states at a cyber-security session at the Annual Meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington, D.C., that unites the most influential opinion-formers from Europe, North America and Asia, called on much closer cooperation between the European Union and NATO as well as within both organizations, reports news agency LETA. “Cyber crime, be it political or criminal, does not usually occur within the borders of one country, which is why our resistance to such activity can only be international as a joint effort of democratic states,” said the Estonian head of state.
He noted to those present that technical solutions for controlling or alleviating cyber attacks are not insurmountably complicated: what is complicated is to achieve a day-to-day, coordinated and trusting cooperation within and between states. “We all have to understand that cyber strikes may be even more dangerous than military attacks and that cyber security is an integral part of overall security in the 21st century,” said President Ilves. “We have already seen how state-supported cyber attacks do not target some country’s military infrastructure, but their target is to paralyze civil networks.”
The Estonian head of state regarded the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cyber-crime as being important, but he expressed regret that to date, only 26 states have ratified the convention and Russia and China are absent among these states.
President Ilves, who stressed the need for countrywide and international close coordination to achieve cyber security, provided the cyber defense league established in Estonia as an example. This is an experience in which several countries are already showing strong interest. “The state-supported cyber defense league, which relies on the wishes of citizens who truly care about their country to make it secure and more protected, shows how it is possible to reach good results by uniting the aspirations of public authority and civil society,” said the Estonian head of state. “This could be one of our weapons in combating enemies who tolerate cyber-crime and use it to steal business secrets or, even more, instigate politically motivated attacks against other countries by using cyber-criminals for this purpose.”
Among the partners of President Ilves who participated at the cyber-security session of the Annual Meeting of the Trilateral Commission were General Keith B. Alexander, the Director of the U.S. National Security Agency, NSA, and the Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, CYBERCOM; Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the former U.S. Director of National Intelligence; Ian Dudgeon, President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and David DeWalt, CEO of one of the leading international companies involved, McAfee, the software security firm.
During his short visit to the U.S., Ilves also visited the Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and met with its commander, General Alexander.
President Ilves also handed a Class III Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana to Mr. Michael Turner Evanoff. Evanoff is a former security leader of NATO’s Head Office and a current high-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. On the eve of this year’s Independence Day, he was awarded a decoration of the Republic of Estonia for his considerable contribution to safeguarding Estonia’s security as a NATO member state and for the successful coordination of the efforts of the alliance in the sphere of counter-intelligence and fighting terrorism.