Cyberspace has joined air, sea, land, and space as an arena of military interest: but the concept of cyberwarfare continues of evolve beyond the grasp of military planners.
Just like air, sea, land and space, now cyberspace is officially considered a likely battlefield by the world’s biggest military alliance.
The decision by NATO earlier this month to recognise cyberspace as an ‘operational domain’ – an area in which conflict can occur – comes as cyberwarfare has gone from the theoretical to the worryingly real.
Several recent incidents have shown that hackers can cause just as much damage as more traditional military attacks: for example, part of the Ukrainian power grid was attacked by hackers, causing blackouts, while the US accused Iranians of attempting to hack into the control system of a dam.
Announcing the change in strategy, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Cyber defence is part of collective defence. Most crises and conflicts today have a cyber dimension. So treating cyber as an operational domain would enable us to better protect our missions and operations.”