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February 13, 2014
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Nov. 28, 2012
From Marine Pennetier, Reuters:  France unveiled plans on Friday to bolster long-neglected defences against cyber attacks, with 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion) of investment foreseen to bring the country's technology up to speed with NATO partners.

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian presented measures including roll-outs of secure telephones, encryption technology and network surveillance to harden sensitive computer systems now exposed to hacking and espionage. . . .

"This is a priority for the defence ministry because our operational capacity, our ability to conduct operations, can be gravely threatened by cyber threats," Le Drian said. "I'm referring to weapons systems, command and control, information and the systems that link them together."

Most of the money will go toward shoring up security at the defence ministry and its strategic partners, which were targeted by some 800 cyber attacks in 2013 amid unprecedented belt-tightening for the military, according to a presentation the defence ministry posted online. . . .

The military will set up a centre to train personnel in cyber defence near the northwestern city of Rennes, home to the Saint-Cyr officer school, with a research arm to develop France's first offensive cyber security weapons. . . .

France also aims to boost information-sharing with allies in NATO, which last June launched the first reaction force to deflect cyber attacks targeting the alliance's computer systems.

From AFP:  "The scale needs to be changed" given that cyber attacks against French defence ministry organs have quadrupled in two years, he [Le Drian] said. . . .

"In 2013 we recorded 780 significant computer incidents within the defence ministry, against 195 in 2011," he said.

Risks, he said, were increasing of either attempts to paralyse government servers or to destroy information and command systems.

"They are general localised attacks coming from foreign powers or activist groups, but they clearly show intrusion attempts into networks able to affect our forces operating abroad or even our partners," he said.