Dutch army training hackers
The Dutch army is creating cybercommandos, a crack team of hackers who will be trained to execute cyber attacks on enemy computers. The 15 cybercommandos will train for a year beginning in 2014, at the computer safety company Fox-IT, in Delft. Around two hundred people will make up the cyberpower unit, of which the hackers are a smaller component. This new measure was confirmed during the Royal Military Academy-organized symposium about cyberdefense in Breda.
Commander of the armed forces, Major General Tom Middendorp, explains that the new soldiers "should not only block attacks, but be able to carry them out as well." Training the hackers is the first step towards offensive digital operations, which were announced about a year and a half ago by then-minister of Defense Hans Hillen. The Netherlands is one of only a few western countries who openly admit to plans for digital offense measures. "It's about stripping an enemy of the use of his resources", Hans Folmer, commander of Taskforce Cyber says. "So you fire at a tank, bomb a command post and you try to shut down their computers." Four hundred soldiers took part in a competition that would determine who could join the hacker taskforce. Fifteen of them have proven themselves worthy. Several other candidates will receive other cyberfunctions. A few of these will be groomed to serve as cyberadvisors next to the commander, to "translate technique to operations" Folmer said. The government will have to lay down the guidelines for the role of the new digital force. The cyber soldiers will be stationed with the Military Intelligence and Security Agency (MIVD) when there are no missions. -with reporting by Audrey Graanoogst