US leads cybersecurity trade mission to Poland and Romania 

Representatives of 20 US companies, including Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and FireEye, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), led by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, are visiting Poland and Romania this week as part of a “Cyber Security Business Development Mission”.

The mission aims to “introduce U.S. firms and trade associations to Eastern and Central Europe’s information and communication technology (ICT) security and critical infrastructure protection markets and to assist U.S. companies to find business partners and export their products and services to the region” – or, in other words, according to the Financial Times, “to discuss ways to bolster defences against a common threat of cyber attacks emanating from Russia and elsewhere in eastern Europe.”

The FT reports that “Romania and Poland are already strong military allies of the US. But increasingly, all three countries are facing cyber threats, often coming from Russia or elsewhere in the region, prompting the US to look for ways to help ensure its defence allies are just as strong in cyber security.”

As Mr Andrews told the FT:

“Poland and Romania have a very tech savvy population and they are also in a challenging neighborhood when it comes to cyber threats, both from a nation state and cyber crime perspective. The nation states in their neighborhood are pretty aggressive. So we want to help make sure that we and our allies have the necessary regime in place to deal with the cyber threats.”

Russian cyber threat

The threat of Russian cyber attacks is not something the US wants to play up – this is, after all, labelled a ‘business development mission’ and Mr Andrews doesn’t name Russia explicitly in his comments to the FT – but, in the wake of recent cyber attacks on the White House, many news sources are very clear about the implications of the visit to Poland and Romania. Relations between the US and Russia remain strained, especially following news that Russia and China have now signed the cyber equivalent of a non-aggression pact, agreeing not to hack each other – presumably so they can concentrate their efforts on a common enemy.

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