We’re not distracted by Russia crisis: Nato

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has "not distracted" Nato from fighting cyberwarfare, a top official said Wednesday, following a number of high-profile attacks.

Defending the organizations ability to have a strong response to such attacks, Christian Liflander, Nato's policy advisor on cyber defence, claimed the issue was "front and center" on its agenda.


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"It (Russia-Ukraine conflict) has bought cyber even more into the thinking of the alliance," he said, during a session at tech fair CeBIT in Germany.

"When you look at the events that have unfolded…cyber is prominent. We, at NATO, look at this phenomenon and we realise you have to deal with a range of capabilities also taking cyber into the account."

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been rumbling on since 2013. Crimea was annexed last year, and battles between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine have continued ever since.

During the conflict there have been a number of cyberattacks reported. Last year, computers in several Ukrainian government offices were infected with cyberespionage tools which appeared to be linked to Russia, while an attack on the German government's website earlier this year was attributed to a pro-Russian group.

In addition, North Korea was accused of carrying out a major hack on Sony, highlighting the increasing amount of state-backed cyberattacks.

Last year, Nato said that a cyberattack on a country could come under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which means it would be seen as an attack against the whole organization. This essentially treats a cyberattack the same as a traditional military assault.

Nato has been criticized in the past for being irrelevant, but Liflander refuted such claims, saying the organization was prepared to deal with hackers.

"When it comes to time, place and the specific tool that can be used, (Nato's) range is quite wide in order to deescalate the situation," he added.