The Netherlands will help Ukraine in the fight against cyberattacks carried out on the country. A cybersecurity specialist is currently standing by to assist when needed. But what will Dutch support in a possible cyberwar look like?
A few weeks ago, Mark Rutte and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra visited Kiev where they spoke with Ukrainian President Zelensky. During this visit, they offered assistance in the fight against cyber-attacks. This offer has now been accepted by Ukraine.
The Netherlands will provide assistance as part of the Cyber Rapid Response Team (CRRT) established in 2020. The team is a collaboration of the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Lithuania. Cybersecurity experts from these countries can work together to prevent or combat cyberattacks. From the Netherlands, the Defense Cyber Security Center is associated with the team.
The demand from Ukraine now is to assist in the cybersecurity investigation into vulnerabilities in the country’s vital systems.
Uncertainty about precise interpretation
It is still unclear what cybersecurity assistance will look like in the coming period. The cyber specialist will initially operate from the Netherlands, but could also end up on location in Kiev if necessary. It is also not yet known how many specialists will ultimately be needed to assist Ukraine.
The Ministry of Defense clearly indicates that Dutch aid will have a defensive character. The focus will be on investigating vulnerabilities in the Ukrainian systems.
Need cyber help
Ukraine has been the target of cyber-attacks recently. Several government sites and banks were hit by cyber-attacks. Gigantic DDoS attacks ensured, among other things, that corona tickets were not accessible and ATMs did not work. It also turned out that Dutch servers were used in DDoS attacks.
Russia is said to be responsible for the attacks, but it firmly denies this.
The Netherlands is not the first to step in to help Ukraine. The United States and the United Kingdom already sent cyberwar experts to Ukraine at the end of 2021.
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