NATO nations agree to joint response to cyberattacks

4 Sep 2014

A NATO technician secures the organisation's servers. Photo by NCIRC NATO

The international military organisation NATO has signed a deal to expand its group response to more than just physical attacks, to include digital ones, as well.

The 28 nations that make up the organisation, largely led by the US, have agreed to come to each other’s aid in the event of a major cyberattack.

The deal will be signed along with 40 other participating countries next week at one of its major summits, according to ArsTechnica.

The agreement also means each member promises to share information with one another regarding potential threats, as well as helping member nations lacking defensive technology reach a more level playing field.

One NATO member, the Baltic state of Estonia, was at the end of the largest cyberattack in its history in 2009. Estonia’s communication networks were seriously disrupted for three weeks after an enormous distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, largely believed to have been orchestrated by its neighbour, Russia.

NATO ministers gave the mutual cyberdefence plan the initial go-ahead last June and establishing that “cyberdefence is part of the alliance’s core task of collective defence, confirms that international law applies in cyberspace and intensifies NATO’s co-operation with industry. The top priority is the protection of the communications systems owned and operated by the alliance.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic