France will use cyberweapons, in addition to traditional weapons, to respond and attack, Defence Secretary Florence Parly stated at the International Cybersecurity Forum FIC2019, held in Lille. She declared that ‘Cyberwar has begun’. Parly called on European allies to co-operate in combating cyber-threats, and particularly, in protecting the defence industry’s supply chain. In this regard, she asked for greater engagement from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to further develop the French (and EU) cyber-defence, and announced a bug bounty partnership between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and startups, in which ethical hackers will conduct research for the MoD to look for internal vulnerabilities.
Cyber-attacks can have a background in international relations, or bring about the consequences that can escalate to a political and diplomatic level. An increasing number of states appear to be developing their own cyber-tools for the defense, offence and intelligence related to cyberconflict.
The use of cyber-weapons by states - and, more generally, the behavior of states in cyberspace in relation to maintaining international peace and security - is moving to the top of the international agenda.