In yesterday’s Brussels Summit Communiqué – Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels 14 June 2021, NATO alerts that it will consider on a case by case basis treating cyberattacks similar to physical attacks against allies. The communique indicates NATO may launch a military response against perpetrators. Under Article 5 of the 1949 NATO treaty, any armed attack on a NATO ally is considered an attack on all alliance members, who may then defend the ally. At the North Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels yesterday, the alliance disclosed a Comprehensive Cyber Defence Policy in which Article 5 responses may be taken following a cyber-attack. The communique specifically calls out Russia for “attempted interference in Allied elections and democratic processes; political and economic pressure and intimidation; widespread disinformation campaigns; malicious cyber activities; and turning a blind eye to cyber criminals operating from its territory, including those who target and disrupt critical infrastructure in NATO countries.”
The move follows several recent high-profile cyberattacks on commercial/industrial sector providers of critical infrastructure and services. In response, three commercial and national defense sector cybersecurity experts offer perspective.