The Article 5 Cyber-Trap

The other day, I noted the dodginess of the evidence behind claims that Russia had launched a sophisticated cyberattack on JP Morgan. I suggested one reason people like Mike Rogers might be crying wolf was to support a plan to reimburse the banks in case of a massive attack.

But there’s another, even more obvious explanation.

NATO just added cyberattacks to its definition of attacks that would merit a unified response. Citing Russia’s Special Forces tactics (the same ones we’re using in something like 80 places around the world), including its cyberattacks, General Phillip Breedlove today ratcheted up the fear of Russia. (h/t Joanne Leon)

Russia’s utilization of troops without national uniforms — the so-called “little green men” — and perhaps “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare” were part of the first Russian push in Ukraine, Breedlove said.

NATO members, especially the Baltic states that border Russia, must take into account such tactics as allies prepare for future threats, he said. That means steps should be taken to help build the capacity of other arms of government, such as interior ministries and police forces, to counter unconventional attacks, including propaganda campaigns, cyberassaults or homegrown separatist militias.

So go back to the alleged JP Morgan attack no one seems to have any evidence to substantiate. It was often attributed as arising somewhere in Eastern Europe. Which could be Russia — or Ukraine. Both countries, in fact, have significant numbers of organized criminals that launch fairly sophisticated cyberattacks.

How convenient, then, to ratchet up the cyberfear when unattributable attacks from the general region have been made a casus belli for the entire alliance.

8 replies
    • scribe says:

      Article 5 of the NATO treaty, wherein each member state pledges to come to the aid of any member state that is attacked, against the attacker.

      Makes a lot of sense when, say, Russian tanks roll across the border into member state West Germany. Makes a lot less sense when people someone thinks might be Russians send electrons at a server occupied in part by JP Morgan’s data.

      • phred says:

        Thanks scribe! I appreciate the clarification.
        Usually I think of Articles in terms of the branches of the US government, so I didn’t get where Article 5 came from.

  1. greengiant says:

    Since the IC can spoof IP addresses then a false flag operation possibility is always on the table. When one my email address books was used in a phishing scheme they did it on March 12 from supposed IPs in Kiev and Russia. I thought the timing was peculiar.

  2. TarheelDem says:

    So we’re just looking for the Franz Ferdinand of cyber-attacks and Europe can go up in smoke again. What a confederacy of dunces NATO has become.

  3. _decius_ says:

    Strictly speaking, a cyber attack isn’t considered an armed attack unless physical objects are destroyed or people are injured or killed. The definition probably needs to be a bit broader then that, but no one is going to war just because a server got hacked into.

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