Washington: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is reportedly considering the use of military force against enemies who launch cyber attacks on its member countries.
According to Times Online, the move comes after a series of Russian-linked hackings against NATO members, and warnings from intelligence services across Europe that computer-launched attacks from China are a mounting threat.
Earlier, a team of NATO experts led by former US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, had warned that the next attack on a NATO country “may well come down a fibre-optic cable”.
The group had also said that a cyber attack on the critical infrastructure of a NATO country could equate to an armed attack.
“A large-scale attack on NATO’s command and control systems or energy grids could possibly lead to collective defence measures under Article 05,” Times Online quoted the experts, as saying.
Article 05 is the cornerstone of the 1949 NATO charter, laying down that “an armed attack” against one or more NATO countries “shall be considered an attack against them all”.
Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee cautioned last year that Chinese-made parts in the BT phone network could be used to bring down systems running the country’s power and food supplies.