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Nato has acknowledged that cyberspace is now an operational domain of warfare, along with air, sea and land.
Recognizing that this particular threat is growing in prominence in the 21st century, its secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said that cybersecurity must be an important part of “collective defence”.
Speaking at the recent North Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, Belgium, he went on to say that “most crises and conflicts today have a cyber dimension”.
He added: “Treating cyber as an operational domain would enable us to better protect our missions and operations.”
The intergovernmental military alliance has been considering the threat of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare for some time.
However, it has had to speed up its response to this complex risk, as the “threat landscape is markedly different from that of a few years ago”.
This is the opinion of Neil Robinson, a policy officer based in the emerging security challenges division at Nato.
Writing in the Nato Review, he said that consensus among experts is that cyberthreats are more sophisticated than ever before.
“Another vital difference lies in their diversity,” Mr. Robinson continued. “Cyber risks threaten the benefits, whether economic, political or social that the human invention of cyberspace can offer.”
During the meeting in Brussels, Mr. Stoltenberg underlined the importance of boosting Nato’s own approach to cybersecurity, as well as that of its member nations.
He admitted a lot of work needs to be done, but that in recognizing cyberspace as an operational domain, Nato has already made a positive step forward in tackling this threat.
Author Narinder Purba, We Live Security