Cyber attacks should not invoke NATO Article V, says KPMG

Cyber attacks should not invoke NATO Article V...

Stephen Bonner, partner in KPMG’s cyber security team, responds to news that NATO is set to ratify its new cyber defence policy

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NATO is set to ratify its new cyber defence policy so that any severe cyber attack on a NATO member could soon be considered tantamount to a traditional military attack and invoke Article V - the collective defence clause which considers an attack on one member an attack on all.

Responding to this news, Stephen Bonner, partner in KPMG’s cyber security team, highlights the growing importance of cyber to military campaigns and how easy it will be to implement. He said: 

“Article V has only ever been invoked once in the history of NATO - in the aftermath of 9-11. The reality is that few cyber attacks are likely to be of sufficient scale and impact to justify invoking Article V - and they would not happen in isolation from a broader deterioration in international security. In other words, if there was a State attack then it would have a broader context. 

This announcement is primarily a rhetorical point which is possibly aimed at having a deterrent effect.  Of course, Article V determinations are a political judgement made at the time of an incident, not in advance. There are risks around the increased militarisation of cyber space and we should be cautious about fuelling this. After all, in most cases, the response to a cyber attack is a civil matter.” 


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Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office

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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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