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During the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference in London NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on the effect of cyber and especially cyber attacks on military, goverments and people: “NATO leaders have agreed that a cyber attack could trigger Article 5 of our founding treaty, where an attack against one Ally is treated as an attack against all. NATO has designated cyberspace as a military domain, alongside land, sea and air. And at our Summit in Brussels last year, we agreed to establish a Cyberspace Operations Centre at the heart of our military command structure. And we have agreed to integrate national cyber capabilities or offensive cyber into Alliance operations and missions. All of this has made NATO more effective in cyberspace.”

Stoltenberg also mentioned a change of strategy opponents have developed. “One of the greatest strengths of the NATO alliance has been our leadership on values, our shared democratic values, our belief in an open society and that has always been our secret weapon. For years authorisation societies have said all this stuff about values is just a cover for your core national interest, it does not really amount to anything. But they have found a way to attack that values leadership, which is by shaking the confidence of our own populations in democratic processes through activities on cyberspace, where it is possible to influence what people think by use of social media platforms and a range of other techniques.” Stoltenberg continued: “We have to find a way to protect the confidence of our population in our own values.”

Dorothee Frank