NATO

Could A Serious Cyber Attack Trigger A Full NATO Response?

The alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned cyber warfare has to be taken as seriously as any other kind of attack.

Cyber threats are becoming 'more destructive the NATO Secretary General said (Picture: MOD).

NATO would "invoke collective defence if required" in the event of a serious cyber attack, the alliance's Secretary General has said.

Writing in Prospect Magazine, Jens Stoltenberg said all 29 member countries would respond if cyber warfare was used on one of them.

He said: "We have designated cyber-space a domain in which NATO will operate and defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land, and at sea."

A collective response from NATO after an attack on one of the member countries is known as Article 5. 

The last time Article 5 was triggered was in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
It is not the first time Jens Stoltenberg has referenced the importance of NATO cyber-security (Picture: PA).

Cyber security has become increasingly important in recent years, and countries like the UK have already been affected by such attacks.

This month, the British Army announced the creation of a new infantry division to focus on digital threats.

Mr Stoltenberg also cited examples of major recent cyber incidents, including the 2017 WannaCry virus which crippled NHS computers.

"Cyber threats to the security of our alliance are becoming more frequent, more complex and more destructive," he said.

To increase cyber security and keep NATO members safe from cyber-threats, the Secretary General said that NATO "is adapting to this new reality".

A new Cyberspace Operations Centre is being established in Mons, Belgium, to increase NATO military commanders' cyber situational awareness.

The centre will also draw cyber-security expertise from allies' national capabilities and incorporate those in upcoming NATO missions and operations.