Print Article

Nato: Cyber-attack on one nation is attack on all


Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says all 29 member countries would respond to a serious cyber-attack on one of them.

Writing in Prospect Magazine, he said such an incident would trigger a “collective defence commitment”, known as Article 5 of its founding treaty.

Article 5 has not been triggered since the 9/11 terror attacks on the US in 2001.

Nato’s members include the US, Canada and many European countries.

“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,” he wrote in his article.

It’s not the first time Mr Stoltenberg has made this claim.

As an example of a major cyber-incident, he mentioned the 2017 Wannacry ransomware attack which crippled the NHS in the UK and caused havoc around the world, although this did not trigger Article 5 at the time.

US President Donald Trump has previously criticised the 70-year-old military alliance, saying the US contributes more funding to it than any other member country

Analysis by BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera

The idea that an attack on one is an attack on all underpins Nato – but adapting it to cyber-space raises complicated issues.

In the Cold War, a missile launch or a tank column advancing would have left little doubt of what constituted an attack.

But in the cyber-world it is not always so easy.

When Estonia saw its infrastructure hit through cyber-space in 2007, it was blamed on Russia. But was it the Russian state or “patriotic hackers” operating within Russia? And at whose direction?

Another issue is the threshold for considering something an attack.

Russia is accused of turning off a power station in (non-Nato member) Ukraine in December 2015. The crippling of infrastructure is one possibility for reaching a threshold for Article 5.

But what of 2017 when Russia is alleged to have launched the Notpetya computer virus against Ukraine but which then spilled over into other countries (including Nato members) damaging businesses at a cost of billions of dollars?

To read original article please click here


The Team

Meet the team of industry experts behind Comsure

Find out more

Latest News

Keep up to date with the very latest news from Comsure

Find out more


View our latest imagery from our news and work

Find out more


Think we can help you and your business? Chat to us today

Get In Touch

News Disclaimer

As well as owning and publishing Comsure's copyrighted works, Comsure wishes to use the copyright-protected works of others. To do so, Comsure is applying for exemptions in the UK copyright law. There are certain very specific situations where Comsure is permitted to do so without seeking permission from the owner. These exemptions are in the copyright sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended)[]. Many situations allow for Comsure to apply for exemptions. These include 1] Non-commercial research and private study, 2] Criticism, review and reporting of current events, 3] the copying of works in any medium as long as the use is to illustrate a point. 4] no posting is for commercial purposes [payment]. (for a full list of exemptions, please read here]. Concerning the exceptions, Comsure will acknowledge the work of the source author by providing a link to the source material. Comsure claims no ownership of non-Comsure content. The non-Comsure articles posted on the Comsure website are deemed important, relevant, and newsworthy to a Comsure audience (e.g. regulated financial services and professional firms [DNFSBs]). Comsure does not wish to take any credit for the publication, and the publication can be read in full in its original form if you click the articles link that always accompanies the news item. Also, Comsure does not seek any payment for highlighting these important articles. If you want any article removed, Comsure will automatically do so on a reasonable request if you email