Latvia Launches Cyber Defense Unit, Hires 13 Cyber Warriors

The unit will protect the country's critical networks in case of a cyber conflict

In case of a conflict, Latvia’s military and government IT systems will be guarded by a newly launched Cyber Defense Unit. The country’s army has already hired 13 experts for the unit.

According to Deutsche Welle, the unit brings together a team of IT specialists and students from both the public and the private sector.

In case of a cyber attack against the country’s critical networks, the unit would inform law enforcement agencies after which it would get to work on mitigating the attack.

The Cyber Defense Unit is part of the National Guard of Latvia, a voluntary military organization that helps out the armed forces when needed. However, the new cyber unit will also assist the National Computer Security Incident Response Team (CERT.LV) in case of a conflict involving cyberspace.

CERT.LV representatives have told DW that all members of the Cyber Defense Unit are properly vetted before they’re allowed to access classified information.

CERT.LV works with over 600 experts, but in case of cyber crisis, it can’t deal with it on its own, which is why it needs to rely on the newly established unit.

Latvia has never dealt with a major cyber attack so far. However, its neighboring country Estonia was hit in April 2007 by a massive attack presumably launched by Russia.

“The most popular scenarios include cyber attacks on electricity, gas, heating and also water supply. Those are the things that can affect the daily basic needs. But there can also be attacks on the government's administration system where lasting disruptions can cause significant problems,” said Baiba Kaškina, the head of CERT.LV.

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