Russia is using cyber attacks to disrupt critical infrastructure and manipulate democratic institutions, according to a stark assessment of the threat the resurgent nations poses to the West from the UK's defence secretary.
Speaking at St Andrews University, Sir Michael Fallon said that it was clear Russia was becoming increasing belligerent in its actions against the west, both physical in terms of troops on the ground, and in the digital sphere.
"There is the use of cyber weaponry to disrupt critical infrastructure and disable democratic machinery," he said.
He cited attacks on TV5 Monde in France, against the lower house of the German parliament and various Dutch institutions, although he stopped short of mentioning the recent US elections, perhaps wary of offending president Trump.
"Meanwhile, the Head of the German BfV intelligence agency warned the Kremlin is "seeking to influence public opinion and decision-making processes" ahead of this year's German elections," he added, underlining the dangers still posed to the West.
In response, Fallon said NATO must double down on its commitments to one another, especially by ensuring all nations in the alliance commit to the promise of spending two percent of their GDP on defences for the organisation, in part to help boost defences to cyber attacks.
"It means supporting reform to make NATO more agile, resilient, and better configured to operate in the contemporary environment including against hybrid and cyber attacks," he said.
"Cyber defence is now part of NATO's core task. NATO must defend itself as effectively in the cyber sphere as it does in the air, on land, and at sea. So adversaries know there is a price to pay if they use cyber weapons."
He noted too that it was important the West got better at responding quickly to lies put out by Russia media, usually under the 'guidance' of the state, to ensure it could counter mistruths that cause panic among citizens.
"Part of our response is for NATO and the West to do more to tackle the false reality promoted through Soviet-style misinformation. Whatever else we do on deterrence and dialogue we must counter Putin's Pravda with a faster truth."
Given the way in which the US administration is playing fast and loose with the truth, though, this effort may be undermined by NATO's most important member.
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