The Next Sneak Attack May Come From Cyberspace

February 2, 2010

The next war is likely to begin with an attack launched through cyberspace, according to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN, pointed out to a luncheon audience at West 2010 that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia all suffered organized foreign cyber attacks within the past four year. In Georgia's case, the cyber attack was coordinated with a conventional military attack using kinetic weapons. "I believe that it's more likely that an attack will come from not a bomb off a bomb rack, but instead electrons in cyberspace," Adm. Stavridis declared. And this threat requires attention by NATO. Article V of the Atlantic alliance provides that an attack on one member is an attack on all, and Article Vi defines what constitutes and attack. Adm. Stavridis posited that NATO needs to re-consider the definition of an attack in light of the emergence of cyberspace, which did not exist when NATO was formed. The dramatic increase in the use of cyberspace by terrorists also worries the admiral, he admitted. The past 10 years has seen a 1000-fold increase in the number of jihadist Web sites, and terrorists are using the Web as a major recruiting tool.

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