Being that government and military organizations can hold such valuable data, they tend to be frequent targets for cyber attacks. New statistics compiled by the military alliance, NATO, show that they warded off 500 cyber attacks each month through 2016.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a statement to CNN, “Our systems register over 500 million suspicious cyber events each day.” She then added that they are targeted by 500 cyber attacks monthly which actually require some sort of response, which was an increase of roughly 60% from 2015.
In an interview with the British and German media, President Trump had called the military alliance obsolete due to it being designed many years ago. Though, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the importance of transatlantic cooperation, and emphasized the alliance’s ability to adapt to new threats, such as cyber. He states, “NATO is the most successful military alliance in history because we have been able to adapt and we’ll continue to do that.” With NATO under this type of scrutiny from the president, perhaps they will have to adjust even further.
With the massive threat that cyber attacks now pose on our technology-reliant society, NATO had opted to include cyberspace as a domain of warfare in June, along with air, sea, and land. Including cyber in this domain brings it to a point where a cyber attack could trigger Article V, which means that NATO could respond to a cyber attack with conventional weapons, just as with any other attack. Cyber attacks have become much more of a threat due to the way they can potentially damage critical infrastructure, or purloin large amounts of money or data.
The Concern Over Foreign Cyber Attacks
Cyber security has been a growing concern in the wake of US intelligence findings that Russia had employed cyber attacks against US electoral organizations. There have also been warnings from US officials that Russia may attempt to employ these types of attacks against European targets. Stoltenberg said in a statement last week at NATO headquarters, “We are concerned of course about cyber-security and we have seen reports about cyber-attacks against many NATO allies and any attempt to intervene or to influence national elections from outside is unacceptable and that’s also one of the reasons why NATO has been very focused on how can we strengthen our cyber defenses…”