NATO Warns Cyber Attacks Are a Threat to Democracy Itself

February 24, 2017

NATO is showing concern about the impact of cyber attacks, considering that they are a threat to individuals and organizations, but also to the fundamental nature of democracy.

According to Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges at NATO, cyber is facilitating more advanced and more effective psychological warfare, information operations, coercion and intimidation attacks, ZDNet reports.

Speaking at the European Information Security Summit in London, Shea added that in the past we used to worry about hackers targeting banks or credit cards, but now we worry about the future of democracy, stability, and health of the state’s institutions.

The effects are already here, in that the Netherlands are planning to go back to traditional vote counting by hand this year, and it’s all because of the Russian interference in the US Presidential election last year.

“We are essentially, with democracy, somewhat losing faith in the very instruments we’ve created to spur our economy and spur globalization,” Shea said.

Not just the US

Of course, the case of the United States isn’t isolated. Attacks against politicians in France and Germany have taken place, attempts to hack into the German Bundestag’s system have been reported, while the French Defense Minister called all the parties together ahead of the Presidential campaign after political parties had been targeted.

“The threat was not to a bank or an institution or an individual; the threat was to society itself, its ability to function and the trust that we have int he credibility and integrity in our democratic model,” Shea added.

NATO has already declared cyber a domain of operation alongside land, air, sea, and space, recognizing the massive role it plays in the security of all the other areas. After all, military equipment and infrastructure need to be continually updated in order to prevent attacks.

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