How the Italian Army defends itself from cyber threats: the RSC

The Italian Army has recently made the Cyber Security Department (RSC) operational, after establishing it around two years ago.

As threats to cyber space increase exponentially, it is absolutely vital in this day and age to have a unit completely dedicated to the control and protection of all military networks and assistance in the various operational theaters at home and abroad.

The Department will have mainly defensive tasks, aimed at intercepting cyber-attack attempts and securing all military devices and equipment connected to the network. Cyberwarfare is a pervasive reality within the international playing field and can have serious operational repercussions.

A cyberattack directed at army communications systems can have dire consequences for the security of soldiers in the field.  


Tasks and technologies used

Cyber threats spare no one, not even the military.

The Army wanted to equip itself with its own highly specialized unit trained in cyber security to defend its unclassified networks from any type of attack.

Furthermore, the unit is designed to prevent, detect and counter any possible risk or hostile action towards networks, systems and / or services of the individual Armed Forces.

The tasks performed include Information Collection, used for the analysis of information research- related activities in support of the respective cell.

The RSC includes the Cyber Command Staff & Forensic Operations, used for cyber activities in support of cyber military operations and traditional military operations planning, with effects in cyberspace.  


The growing cyber threat

As aforementioned, the threat of cyberwarfare is, unfortunately, just around the corner.

Hacktivists, criminal gangs, terrorists can now acquire information to use to their advantage.

They can attack vital infrastructure, steal secrets, and sabotage the state’s military capability.

Cyberspace is a real battlefield.

All major countries and international organizations, including NATO, are equipping themselves with military command and control structures to operate within the cyber domain.

The ultimate goal is to improve national cyber defense capabilities, to help strengthen collective defense.

The statistics illustrate the gravity of the situation. Between 2017 and 2018, the Army estimates that most attacks on its networks have been the result of malware.

Between 2013 and 2018, the Armed Forces overall quadrupled (from 83 to 246) their certified systems against cyber threats.

In 2018 alone, the Defense recorded about 100 attacks on its networks.

To prevent unknown threats, the Cyber Security Department will be able to use professionals specialized in frontier technologies, such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).