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Estonian defmin: No cyber attack against NATO has constituted an act of war yet
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    Topics - Defence Matters ENG - News

    Estonian defmin: No cyber attack against NATO has constituted an act of war yet

    TALLINN, Sep 12, BNS - No cyber attack against NATO has constituted an act of war yet, Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik said in an interview given to the Fifth Domain portal published on Tuesday.

    Leaders of NATO member states agreed in 2014 that a cyber attack may unleash Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty setting out the fundamental principle of collective defense. Fifth Domain asked Luik during his recent Washington visit whether any cyber attack has come close to launching Article 5.

    "Some of the things which have happened are very serious," Luik told Fifth Domain. "Whether it would constitute an act of war, I think we have not risen to that level ? yet."

    Luik did however raise concerns about what dangers may already be planted in existing systems.

    "One also has to keep in mind that, you know, there are news coming out often that bugs are found, for instance, in the electricity grid or in some other systems. This is all preparatory work," he said.

    "So if somebody wants to do something, then these are capabilities which are built over time to your system, so that at Point Zero, this can all be started very quickly," Luik said.

    Like many other institutions, NATO faces the challenge of members who simply do not want to share much information about their cyber capabilities.

    "When you talk to each other about the attacks, then you usually also relay your weaknesses. And you do not want everybody to know your weakness," Luik said. "So people are quite cautious, actually, in describing attacks to their system."

    The upside, Luik said, is that NATO has "found a good way of exchanging information in a very sound, confidential setting," which is helping to thaw that information sharing issue among the nations.

    More than that, he said NATO is set for the near-term with how it handles cyber operations. He compared the current setup to to the structure that has existed for decades with the alliance's nuclear capabilities in which NATO acts as an organizational hub but national governments offering their own capabilities, Fifth Domain said.

    "NATO itself does not have a big cyber defense capability. These capabilities come from national governments and they can be used with the agreement of governments, especially the offensive capabilities," Luik said.

    "NATO does not have any offensive capabilities but there are NATO countries who have considerable offensive capabilities," the minister said.

    And Luik sees another comparison between cyber and nuclear.

    "There has never been a real big cyber attack against another country which would utilize all the fearsome cyber weapons which are in the hands of many governments," he said.

    "People are cautious about it because they know that, you do it, it can be used against you as well. So there is actually this strange, strange balance of fear, not only of the nuclear issue, but also in cyber," Luik said.

    Baltic News Service

    • Published: 12.09.2018 11:04
    • LETA, BNS
    • © The given news may not be republished in any way or amount, or otherwise used by the mass media or Internet websites, without written permission of LETA. If this provision is not observed, the matter will be taken to court pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Republic of Latvia.