NATO to reinforce security requirements amid 5G network risks

BRUSSELS, June 26, 2019 (Xinhua) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R, Front) attends a NATO defense ministers meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 26, 2019. NATO Defense Ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday to begin two days of talks on key security challenges. (Xinhua/IANS)

Brussels, Oct 24 (IANS) NATO defence ministers are poised to update security requirements of their civilian telecommunications equipment with special attention to be paid on infrastructure like new 5G internet networks, the Alliance’s Secretary General said Wednesday.

They “will agree an update to our baseline requirement for civilian telecommunications,” Jens Stoltenberg told the press ahead of a meeting of defence ministers on Wednesday and Thursday, the Efe news reported.

“The requirement is for all Allies to have reliable telecommunications systems in peacetime, crisis and conflict, including for 5G,” Stoltenberg said.

The NATO chief said civilian infrastructure was a “national responsibility” for each member state, but as per the Alliance’s founding treaty “being resilient is part of every Ally’s commitment to the Alliance, and to each other.”

NATO’s cornerstone is based on collective defence.

He said the requirements involved having “robust options to restore the systems in case of disruption and outage,” as well as access to communications networks for national authorities “in a crisis.”

Rigorous risk management plans and sharing information with governments and the private sector were also part of the requirements.

According to Stoltenberg, NATO members would have to “conduct a thorough assessment of the risks to communications systems associated with cyber threats.”

The topic being addressed by NATO defence ministers comes after the United States imposed restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The European Union had asked for a coordinated response amid security risks that could arise with the installation of infrastructure like that for 5G networks.

Allied Forces have said the US asked for the topic to be addressed at the ministerial level – a topic that will come up again at a NATO leaders’ summit next April.

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