And such an attack can be much more easily staged than a real terrorist attack.
Listen also to the buzzwords.
NATO is considering the use of military force against enemies who launch cyber attacks on its member states.
The move follows a series of Russian-linked hacking against NATO members and warnings from intelligence services of the growing threat from China.
A team of NATO experts led by Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state, has warned that the next attack on a NATO country “may well come down a fibre-optic cable”.
A report by Albright’s group said that a cyber attack on the critical infrastructure of a NATO country could equate to an armed attack, justifying retaliation.
“A large-scale attack on NATO’s command and control systems or energy grids could possibly lead to collective defence measures under article 5,” the experts said.
Article 5 is the cornerstone of the 1949 NATO charter, laying down that “an armed attack” against one or more NATO countries “shall be considered an attack against them all”.
It was the clause in the charter that was invoked following the September 11 attacks to justify the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
NATO is now considering how severe the attack would have to be to justify retaliation, what military force could be used and what targets would be attacked.