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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2403

A Serious Cyber Attack on NATO Members: it’s ground for triggering Article 5, says NATO chief

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

As the world is reeling from the massive ransomware attack, Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, says a cyber-attack of this magnitude is ground for triggering the revised Article 5 of the military alliance – an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Mr Stoltenberg says that NATO members agreed last year to expand the article 5 in order to include cyber-attacks on a par with military attacks. The cyber-attack caused significant damage in Ukraine at government level; by strange coincidence, country’s military spy chief was assassinated by a car bomb.

Since the motive of the attack appeared to be more of a geo-political development than that of a random ransom-extraction, NATO may have figured out who was behind it, but refuses to name the source in public. The secretary general warns that the attacks of this nature could trigger off war between his organisation and a military power that could match the former on the battle field.

"The attack in May and this week just underlines the importance of strengthening our cyber defences and that is what we are doing,” Mr Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, in response to the cyber-attack that crippled government ministries in Ukraine as well as Chernobyl nuclear monitoring station.

The attack by, Petya ransomware first took place in Ukraine on Tuesday evening, before going global. Among its victims were factories, ports, government ministries and many more, across the world.

The piece of software, when gets into a computer system, encrypts the file systems in such a way that reading by normal means becomes next to impossible. The hackers demand a payment in return for the keys to unlock the encrypted files.

This is the second major attack involving ransomware recently. Unlike the last attack, the latest, according to some security experts, has not exploited the vulnerability of Windows security layers; on the contrary, users have been duped into install a Windows update in which the piece of software was hidden.

Although, security experts go into analytical mode after each attack, the ferocity and randomness of them have caught them completely off guard – for the second time in a matter of weeks. In short, the hackers have managed to stay a step ahead of cyber security experts, while holding the world to ransom.

- Asian Tribune -

A Serious Cyber Attack on NATO Members:  it’s ground for triggering Article 5, says NATO chief
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