Interview Venizelos 5 16 13

[Dimitris Manis]: Monday, May 13th, was the last day in service for the Greek-origin NATO military commander, James Stavridis. Before departing from his duties, Admiral Stavridis granted an interview to the Voice of America, in which he stated that the biggest challenge that the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance will face in the coming years will be security in cyberspace. Internet attacks on businesses and governmental organizations are now a common phenomenon, and the suspects, as well as the technology they use, are deterred from such actions on a regular basis. For this reason, Admiral Stavridis emphasized that internet security will be the biggest challenge his successor will face. [Admiral Stavridis]: Modern societies depend on the services provided through the internet, yet the security measures we take are very few, especially us in NATO. [Dimitris Manis]: At the same time, such attacks are very easy to be carried out. Anyone with good computer skills can execute such an action. NATO has a cyber defense control center and an internet research center in Estonia. However, the military commander of the alliance insists that even among member countries, international cooperation in dealing with cyberattacks is limited. [Admiral Stavridis]: All countries in this area are very sensitive and are very cautious in offering their knowledge even to allied countries. However, we must overcome this problem because the threats we face are very great and real. [Dimitris Manis]: Internet attacks can range from nuisances, with no significant consequences, to very dangerous actions such as interventions in the global banking system or disruption of an airport’s air traffic system. There are incidents of corporate or governmental information theft through such attacks. They can also cause catastrophic consequences if, for example, someone manages to gain control of the electronic system of a nuclear power plant. Professor Kevin Jones, from the computer science department at the University of London, mentioned that the internet gives anyone the ability to carry out a terrorist act. [Kevin Jones]: This kind of terrorism is much more accessible because one doesn’t need to carry explosives; it can be done from their room with a computer. [Dimitris Manis]: At the same time, many countries are developing technology to carry out cyberattacks, and some, such as China, Israel, and the United States, have been accused of having used such technology. [Admiral Stavridis]: It is too early for NATO to take such actions but it is an area that each country separately needs to look into. At this time we need to focus our attention on exploring ways to deter cyberattacks. [Dimitris Manis] Although there are individual people and groups who will carry out an attack at any cost, a coordinated state, analysts say, will be much more cautious in such an action. For instance, it would be impossible to carry out an attack on a country’s stock exchange without triggering chain reactions in economies worldwide and consequently in that of the attacking country itself. Dimitris Manis, Voice of America, Washington.