Internal memo reveals cyber attacks against NATO cause “wide-scale disruption”

Cyber Attack

From Spiegel:  An internal NATO memo obtained by SPIEGEL shows just how worried the alliance is about cyber threats and how it plans to confront them "head-on." It also warns members that, if their shared defenses are to be robust and secure, each one needs to bolster their national defenses.

NATO is increasing pressure on its member states to beef up their cyber defenses and to take more aggressive action against Internet cyber attackers, according to an internal memo from NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen obtained by SPIEGEL.

The document, entitled "Concept on NATO’s Cyber Defence," warns that the "scale and sophistication of cyber attacks against NATO’s own networks and against Allies’ critical infrastructure are steadily increasing" and notes that the threat has evolved from one of "mainly espionage and exploitation … to wide-scale disruption. . . ."

The document reveals much about the alliance’s view of the current threat and how it would respond. Although it admits that terrorists, criminals or "rogue hackers" could launch the attacks, it says that "states remain the most capable source for cyber attacks. Were one of the alliance’s member countries to sustain a cyber attack, the document says that it the North Atlantic Council (NAC) would have to make a collective decision about how to respond. . . .

The paper indicates that the alliance intends to have "full operational capability" to respond to cyber threats by 2012.  (graphic: Matt Murphy/Economist)

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