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NATO Sees 60 Percent Rise In 'Cyberincidents' During 2016


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

BRUSSELS -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance saw a 60 percent increase in "cyberincidents" during 2016 compared to the previous year.

Speaking at the launch of his annual report for 2016 in Brussels, Stoltenberg said NATO experts dealt with an average of 500 "cyberincidents" per month during 2016.

A NATO expert told RFE/RL that "cyberincidents" include direct attacks, as well as cases were computers have been infected by malware, "glitches," or are running improperly as a result of a "bad configuration."

One NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity told RFE/RL it is hard to trace all of the attacks or malevolent incidents to determine if they were caused by individuals or organizations.

But the official said many NATO allies indicated that several significant cyberattacks appear to have come from Russia.

The NATO official also said the sophistication of cyberattacks from Russia during 2016 -- and the type of information being targeted -- suggests that they were not the work of private hackers working on their own.

At NATO's 2016 summit in Warsaw, the alliance concluded that cyberspace is an area where its needs to defend itself as efficiently as its forces in the air, on land, and in the sea.

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