When Russia launched a full-on invasion of Ukraine in late February, many expected Moscow to undertake heavy cyber and information attacks as well as kinetic military action. More than two months into the war, Kyiv has not only managed to keep the country online – despite a number of hacking attempts by Russia – but it has gone on the offensive.
Cyber attacks, targeted disinformation campaigns, and the threat of massive disruption as tools for modern warfare are nothing new. As a matter of fact, over the past decade, Russia has engaged in cyberattacks as a means to disrupt the global economy and to keep western countries off-balance. The cyber dimension of the “hot war” in Ukraine is an important reminder of the need to defend cyberspace. Join us for a virtual discussion with Berlin-based cybersecurity experts Tyson Barker and Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar on Friday, May 6, 2022, at 11 am ET.
Tyson Barker joined DGAP in October 2020 as head of its Technology and Global Affairs Program. He previously worked at Aspen Germany where, as deputy executive director and fellow, he was responsible for the institute’s digital and transatlantic programs. Prior to that, Mr. Barker served in numerous positions including as senior advisor in the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. State Department and director for transatlantic relations at the Bertelsmann Foundation. He has written for numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, The Atlantic, The National Interest, and Der Spiegel.
Mr. Barker was a Fulbright scholar in Austria and a Truman National Security Project Fellow. He was a recipient of the Taiwan Cultural Exchange Fellowship and received a grant from the Starr Foundation to conduct research on Sino-European relations. Mr. Barker holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In addition to his native English, he speaks fluent German and Spanish.
Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar has been the Director of the Digital Society Institute at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin since January 2022. From 2018 to 2021, she served as Ambassador for Cyber Diplomacy and Director General for the Cyber Diplomacy Department at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she led the efforts to promote international law and cyber norms during the Estonian tenure at the United Nations Security Council. From 2012 to 2018, she was working as a Head of Cyber Policy Coordination at the European External Action Service where she coordinated EU external relations on cyber issues and co-led preparations of European Cyber Security Strategies since 2012. She set up EU strategic level cyber dialogues with the US, India, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, China as well as other international organizations. She also kicked off EU global cyber capacity building programs and steered the development of the EU Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox to bolster European response to malicious cyber activities. In 2011, she was assigned to the NATO International Staff to prepare the NATO Cyber Defense Policy.
She has been working on cyber and tech policies since 2007 when she led the development of the first whole-of-government Estonian Cyber Security Strategy. From 2008 to 2010, she coordinated the implementation of the strategy, managed the National Cyber Security Council, and led the establishment of national cyber resilience structures as well as public-private partnerships. She has held various managerial and academic positions at the Estonian Ministry of Defense and the Tallinn University since 1995. She was a Fulbright Scholar at George Washington University and has published in several academic journals throughout her career.