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Cyber-war has begun' – and France will hack first, defence secretary declares

Written by  Jan 22, 2019

France’s defence secretary Florence Parly today declared “Cyber war has begun.”

And she said the Euro nation's military will use its “cyber arms as all other traditional weapons… to respond and attack,” as well as setting up a military bug bounty program.

Parly made her pledges during a speech to the Forum International de Cybersecurite (FIC) in the northern French town of Lille. Her speech was on a topic that most Western countries shy away from addressing directly in public.

“The cyber weapon is not only for our enemies,” said France’s defence secretary this afternoon, speaking through a translator. “No. It’s also, in France, a tool to defend ourselves. To respond and attack.”

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Her remarks will be seen as moving the debate about offensive cyber capabilities – not just so-called “active defence” but using infosec techniques as another weapon in the arsenal of state-on-state warfare – to a new level. Coming from a prominent NATO member and EU country, it could set the tone for future discussion of nation states' offensive cyber doctrines.

As well as having “published the main lines of that [offensive] doctrine” of the use of cyber weapons last week, Parly called for “more co-operation and partnerships and convergence with our European allies because if a threat is over the heads of all of us, that’s the cyber threat and it has no border.”

"Today I would like to make a proposition to our defence industrialists," she continued. "Let’s unite our strengths to protect, from the cyber threat, our supply chain."

Parly also revealed that France’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has established no less than a military bug bounty program, saying: “When I talk about trust it goes very far. A partnership has been done between [France’s military] cyber command and the startups. That is called Yes We Hack. I announce it.

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