Could Russia's cyber attack invoke Article 5 of NATO?

US President Joe Biden has asked the country's private companies and organizations to "keep their digital doors closed". He has claimed, citing information from intelligence agencies, that Russia is planning a cyber attack on America.

UK cyber officials are also supporting this appeal towards the White House to be careful about cyber security. However, no one has given any such evidence that Russia is preparing for a cyber attack. Earlier, Russia had termed such allegations as 'Russophobic'. Although it is also true that Russia is a cyber superpower and has deadly cyber tools. He also has hackers who can create turmoil in the cyber world and can do very dangerous cyber attacks.

Ukraine has been relatively shielding Russia from cyber attacks until recently, but experts now fear that it may carry out cyber attacks against Ukrainian allies. Jane Ellis of cybersecurity company Rapid7 says, "Biden's warning may also be true, especially at a time when Western countries have imposed sanctions against Russia and hacktivists have also joined the fight. It is also true that Russia's attack is not proceeding according to its plan.

After all, which are the cyber attacks, whose fear is haunting the experts the most. They feel that such dangerous attacks can happen again.

Ukraine is often called the hacking playground of Russia. Russia has conducted several attacks there to test its attack techniques and tools. In 2015, Ukraine's electricity grid was damaged in a cyber attack called Black Energy. Because of this, 80,000 customers of the utility company in western Ukraine had to face direct blackouts. Exactly a year later, another cyber attack called Industriere took place, leaving one-fifth of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in total darkness for an hour. At that time, the US and the European Union blamed Russian military hackers for the attack.

"Russia may try to attack Western countries like this," says Marina Korotofil, a cybersecurity respondent who helped investigate the power outages. He can do this to show his attacking ability and can also issue a statement taking responsibility for it later. However, he also believes that doing so can also become a threat to Russia because now Western countries have also got a lot of access to Russian networks.

Notpetya is considered to be the most damaging cyber attack ever in the history of the world. US, UK and European Union officials have blamed the attack on Russian military hackers. The software used in this attack was inserted in an update of accounting software widely used in Ukraine. But it spread all over the world and it destroyed the computer systems of thousands of companies. Due to this there was a loss of 10 billion dollars (7.5 billion pounds).

A month earlier, North Korean hackers were accused of creating turmoil by carrying out similar attacks. At that time a virus named WannaCry 'Worm' destroyed the data of three lakh computers in 150 countries. During that time Britain's National Health Service had to cancel appointments for a large number of patients. "Such attacks can create an atmosphere of massive panic," says Ellis. These can create economic instability and can even lead to the loss of lives. She says, "The possibility of such attacks may not be visible in the near future, but the infrastructures of all countries are often dependent on interconnected technology. It is the same as many aspects of our today's life are related to each other. We have seen the impact of the WannaCry attack on UK hospitals. However, Professor Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at the University of Surrey, says that Russia is also at risk of such attacks. "Such uncontrolled hacks are more like a biological warfare," he says. In this, only critical infrastructure of certain places cannot be targeted. Such attacks spread in many places. Victims of Wannacry and Notpetya also happened in Russia.

In May 2021, due to the attack of hackers, an important oil pipeline had to be closed. Due to this, emergency had to be declared in many states of America. Crucial to the US, the Colonial Pipeline supplies 45 percent of its diesel, petrol and aviation fuel to the East Coast. Therefore, due to the cyber attack, there was panic at the petrol pumps. Although this attack was done by Russian hackers. This attack was done by a group demanding ransomware present on the dark internet. It is understood that this group is present in Russia. The pipeline company admitted that it had paid a ransom of $4.4 million in bitcoins so that the backup computer system could oye do, start working. A few weeks later, another ransomware gang known as REVIL attacked the systems of JBS, the world's largest beef processor. This affected the supply of meat. One of the major fears of experts is about Russian cyber capabilities. It is feared that the Putin government may ask cybercrime gangs to conduct planned attacks on American targets so that maximum damage can be done. Professor Woodward says, "The advantage of asking cybercriminals to carry out ransomware attacks is that they can create much more panic than this. This can cause huge financial loss.

It does not seem so, but if a member of NATO is attacked by a cyber attack and it causes significant damage to life and property, then Article 5 of this military alliance can apply. According to this, an attack on any one member of NATO will be considered an attack on all countries and they will face it together. But if this happens, it will drag NATO into an unwanted war. If such an attack happens, then the answer is likely to come from America and its close country. US President Joe Biden has already said that if Russia makes any major attack on America, then for this his country is making full preparations to respond. But the kind of cyber chaos witnessed by ready-to-go hackers on both sides during the Ukraine war in recent weeks shows how quickly things can escalate. In this way, any major action of cyber attack will be done very carefully and thoughtfully.

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