The Dutch government will not tolerate ransomware attacks that could threaten national security, it will use intelligence or military services to curb them.


The Dutch government announced that it will not tolerate cyberattacks that pose a risk to its national security and will employ intelligence or military services to counter them.

Cyberespionage and sabotage attacks, and also ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure and government offices will trigger the response of the Dutch authorities, explained Ben Knapen, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs.



The Dutch Minister added that the response to severe cyber attacks could be escalated, an attack against a critical response will require the rapid reply of the cyber defense, a response that disregards diplomatic relations between the countries involved.

Knapen highlighted the difficulty of attributing a ransomware operation to a specific threat actor, it explained that it is very complex to demonstrate that a non-state actor carries out the operation on the explicit instruction of or under the control of a state. As a result, the legal attribution of an act of a non-state actor to a state is usually not easy.

“For several years, the threat of ransomware attacks has been increasing around the world. A broad explanation of this threat is included in the Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands (CSBN) 2021, which was shared with the Chamber in June by the Minister of Justice and Security. One of the conclusions of CSAN 2021 is that cybercrime can affect national security if an attack causes massive damage, for example by disrupting vital processes. In a number of cases, cybercriminals enjoy the protection of the state from which they operate or there is cooperation.” Knapen wrote in a letter to the Dutch Parliament. “Due care principle In situations where attribution appears not to be possible in a legal sense, it may be desirable to look into a possible violation of the due care principle in the context of state liability law. The principle of due care means that states are expected to take into account the rights of other states when exercising their sovereignty. States have a duty to act when they have knowledge of the use of their territory in a way that harms the rights of a third state. Failure to comply with this obligation is a violation of an international law obligation.”