NATO has launched a series of exercises to prepare and deal with potential cyber attacks.
The hub for the exercises is based in Tallinn, Estonia. The country experienced cyberattacks in 2007 that paralysed key business and government web services for days.
Estonia then set up a crack cyber defence unit in response.
“Often it’s described as a cyber war against Estonia, but now we recognise it more like a organised cyber hooliganism,” said Andreus Padar, commander of Estonia’s Cyber Defence Unit. “Computers and networks might be used as useful equipment but also as weapons.
Tarmo Randel, head of Computer Emergency Response team at the base, said anti-virus or any other form of protection could be useless against a massive cyber attack.
“The most important thing is to have friends inside your country and outside your country. You never know who is going to support some politically motivated decisions with, for example, a cyber attack,” said Randel.
At NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), in Mons, Belgium, analysts say attacks on the alliance’s defense systems are growing in number and sophistication.
Jamie Shea, head of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, said cyber aggressors could face retaliatory strikes.
“Deterrence is important. We have said for example that article 5 of NATO’s collective defence mechanism could apply in the event of the cyber attack if that cyber attack reaches a certain threshold,” Shea told euronews.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty says an attack on one member is considered as an attack on the whole alliance.
It means that a country plotting a strike on one NATO member could be subjected to collective action by all 28 members.