NATO to Consider Military Response to Cyberattacks – 3 Defense & Cyber Experts Comment

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 2021NATO 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.

Experts Comments

June 16, 2021
Garret F. Grajek
CEO
YouAttest

The Brussels Communique is logical statement because cyber-attacks are similar to armed attacks in that they can and do indiscriminately affect both civilian and government populations. The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack was proof of how a cyberattack can affect a civilian population. Most experts agreed that because of the open nature of the democratic networks, to be effective against these attacks the West must apply pressure the points of origin of such attacks. NATO’s message is just

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The Brussels Communique is logical statement because cyber-attacks are similar to armed attacks in that they can and do indiscriminately affect both civilian and government populations. The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack was proof of how a cyberattack can affect a civilian population. Most experts agreed that because of the open nature of the democratic networks, to be effective against these attacks the West must apply pressure the points of origin of such attacks. NATO’s message is just that. It’s a strong sign to the nations that either harbor or turn a blind-eye to attackers on its soil that these malware campaigns will be taken very seriously.

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June 16, 2021
Doug Britton
CEO
Haystack Solutions

This communique makes clear that the US and her allies must change the urgency and economics around finding the undiscovered cyber geniuses whose innate aptitudes make them among the potential best and brightest, and then train them at a new pace and price point, and getting them into the fight as soon as possible.  This is a clarion call for the best talent on defense, repelling attackers at the cyber borders, and on offense, deploying cyber weapons against adversaries.

June 16, 2021
Elena Elkina
Partner
Aleada

We live in the world where cyber defense is imperative for companies and countries. In the light of the frequency, complexity, and destructive power of the most recent attacks, the only surprise is that it took NATO up to this point to make public this decision and take assertive action. The time for delicacy is over, and it is time for NATO to reaffirm its position and request other countries to act respectfully and responsibly.

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