Finland has joined Sweden in plans to build an offensive capability as part of its national online defence arsenal.
The nation’s Ministry of Defence aims to create malware and exploits to launch online counter-attacks to threats.
“Attack is an unfortunate word, but there can be no defensive capability without the ability to offer a counter-punch,” Defence permanent secretary Lt. Gen. Arto Räty told Helsingin Stomata.
“The two things go hand in hand”.
The counter-offensive capability would be presented to parliament in a defence strategy next year and formalised in 2013.
The nation’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-Fi) acknowledged that offensive strikes by nation states “is a kind of taboo”.
But CERT-Fi head Erka Koivunen said civilian agencies must learn offensive techniques, if only to run penetration tests against their networks.
“In some circumstances, attack is the best means of defence.”
The Swedish Social Democrat Party in August proposed a similar plan for the development of an offensive capability.
Britain too had voiced its intention to create cyber weapons and recently pledged to retaliate against threats.
Australia had not announced ambitions to develop offensive capabilities for network-centric warfare.
It instead had focussed on building defensive strategies including the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia — which educates and informs public and private organisations of threats — and signing treaties such as the European Convention on Cybercrime — which would make it easier to fight online crime across international borders.
Sources in the Attorney-General’s Department had previously downplayed the risk of cyberwar. Their department was heavily focussed on identifying and securing network systems which were of importance to national security.