Nato is creating a cyber-defence command to protect its allies against crippling online attacks on national infrastructures.
The Cyber Defence Management Authority (CDMA) will co-ordinate cyber-defence among Nato allies after its formation was backed by members at a Nato summit in Bucharest last week.
Nato allies have pledged to help each other deal with major attacks similar to the distributed denial-of-service attack that took down key banking and state systems in Estonia in 2007.
It is a shift away from Nato's policy of mainly focusing on the defence of its own internal systems, using the Nato Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) unit.
At the CDMA's helm is expected to be Major General Georges D'hollander, who leads the Nato agency dealing with cyber-defence.
The Brussels-based CDMA will strengthen nation states' cyber-defences by reinforcing the best ways to protect national systems and forging new policies to deal with future threats.
A centre of excellence set up in Estonia will train Nato's extensive civilian and military staff in cyber-defence.
A Nato spokesman told ZDNet.co.uk sister site silicon.com: "It has become clear that the challenge we face has become quite significant and needs a more comprehensive approach. We need to be ahead of the bad guys; the threat can come from many sources: cybercrime, cyberterrorism or state activity."
The NRIC will continue to develop its ability to handle attacks on Nato's own systems.