NATO has warned Russia and other perceived foes that the US-led military alliance is prepared to use all its resources to respond to any cyber attacks, after the UK claimed that 16 member-states had been targeted by Moscow.
“For deterrence to have full effect, potential attackers must know we are not limited to respond in cyber space when we are attacked in cyber space,” Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the Western alliance, declared on Thursday in a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in London.
“We can and will use the full range of capabilities at our disposal,” he further underlined.
Stoltenberg’s warning came as NATO members remained on alert in fear of possible interference in European Parliament elections that commenced in Britain and the Netherlands earlier in the day.
Last week, the European Union adopted the power to impose “targeted restrictive measures to deter and respond to cyber attacks.”
Members of the cold-war era NATO alliance have also accused Moscow – without verifiable evidence — of attempting to alter the outcome of US presidential election in 2016, and using cyber technology to impair the infrastructure of neighboring Ukraine. Russia has categorically denied the allegations.
Hunt also claimed during the press briefing that the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has shared details of malicious Russian activity with 16 of the 29 NATO members over the past 18 months. However, he did not publicly discuss the details of such activities.
Stoltenberg and Hunt refused to state what steps might be taken by NATO, which Russia continues to regard as a top national security threat even after the conclusion of the Cold War.