SPAIN’S Defence Minister has said the country is prepared for potential cyber attacks after British and Dutch authorities alleged Russia’s military intelligence services were behind a series of global strikes.
Margarita Robles told a press conference following a meeting with NATO Defence Ministers the country is braced for “very real” threats.
Spain had put all necessary measures in place to protect its cyberspace and its citizens should not be alarmed, the minister added.
Robles comments follow claims made by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that Russia’s GRU was behind strikes on the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Democratic National Committee and other organisations.
It also comes as the Netherland’s Defence Ministry claimed it had foiled an attempted cyber attack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headquarters in The Hague.
Russia has denied any involvement in the incidents and called the accusations a “diabolical cocktail”. There was no evidence to back up the claims from Britain and the Netherlands, a Kremlin spokesperson added.
Robles said Spain had to be prepared in the face of threats of political interference, cyber attacks and ‘hybrid’ strikes.
“Citizens have to be calm and to know that we are ready. But we will not abandon the channels of dialogue,” Robles said.
The minister added it was “essential” there were joint defence mechanisms both within NATO and the European Union (EU).
“Spain is a reliable and serious NATO partner and we are committed to working on our cyberdefence capabilities. We cannot give more details about these as we do not to provide clues to people who can carry out such attacks,” Robles said.
James Mattis, the United States’ Secretary of Defence, said last Thursday his country had given its offensive cyber capabilities to NATO countries.
He added that Russia would “pay” for its actions but did not outline a specific response.
Robles said Spain had to be “very cautious” in choosing how to respond if it should fall victim to such a strike.