Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Warfare
Cyber warfare is a significant threat that involves governments fighting against other countries through the use of complex cyber attacks. These cyber threats are designed to damage the computer infrastructure of an entire country, whether by using viruses, malware, ransomware, or denial-of-service attacks. Of course, the ever-increasing reliance on technology in today’s society enhances the risks of cyber warfare, as it poses significant challenges in keeping a nation’s infrastructure protected.
How can Cyber Warfare be Triggered?
A cyber war can occur due to a multitude of reasons, whether a nation is trying to hack confidential information or use malware to disrupt various systems. For example, the “Stuxnet worm” was allegedly developed by the United States and Israel to sabotage multiple Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010. The computer worm caused substantial damage to Iran’s nuclear program, as it targeted vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. More recently, the Russian government attempted to use social media to create a disinformation campaign to impact the United States presidential election in 2016. As you can see, these two real-world examples of cyber warfare can have significant consequences, and it is essential for nations always to remain vigilant.
The Many Risks of Cyber Warfare
A doomsday scenario of cyber warfare can impact nearly every aspect of today’s technology-driven society. The use of technology is the backbone of almost every organisation, and the disruption of these services can cause widespread panic to the citizens of any nation.
Here are just a few examples of the many dangers and risks of a large-scale cyber warfare attack on another country.
Knocking out the power grid for a country is an ever-present danger in today’s world of advanced cyber threats. Ukraine was the first country to experience a power grid attack that affected almost a quarter of a million Ukrainians in 2015. A transmission station was also taken down nearly a year later, as many cybersecurity experts believe that Russia used these attacks as a test run for potential cyber attacks against the West, such as the U.K. and the United States.
The military is another prime target for enemy nations that hope to wreak havoc and cause significant destruction. Trying to stay up to date with the latest cybersecurity measures is a massive undertaking for national security, as new cyber threats continue to emerge all of the time. Many nations reserve the right to respond to a cyber attack through the use of military force. Israel became the first country to retaliate against a cyber attack by using an air strike against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in early May of this year.
A rogue nation can cause massive chaos by attacking financial institutions to disable transactions and steal monetary funds. For example, North Korea is home to a group that is known as “Hidden Cobra,” as they continually look for new ways to exploit banks and other financial institutions. A compromised bank can potentially affect millions of accounts and make daily life extremely difficult for ordinary citizens.
Many voting machines are a risk to cybersecurity attacks from foreign adversaries. For example, cybersecurity experts warned that malicious hackers could take advantage of various security vulnerabilities in a specific model of voting machines. Election interference will only continue to be a significant problem in the future, whether it is due to malfunctioning voting machines or disinformation campaigns designed to spread misinformation about particular candidates. Routinely testing these voting machines and always remaining vigilant is essential in staying one step ahead of these cybercriminals.
Protecting critical infrastructure within the transportation industry is essential in today’s world of technology. Many of these items are automated that control transportation, such as traffic lights and railroad crossings. Hackers that gain access to these systems can cause significant traffic disruptions and make it almost impossible to travel. Cyber attacks against airports also pose many security challenges that can cause delays and disrupt daily operations.
Cyber warfare will only continue to grow more prevalent as technology continues to evolve rapidly, and tensions increase around the world. These cyber attacks from rogue nations can make a significant impact on the daily lives of everyday citizens by targeting the power grid, military assets, financial institutions, voting machines, and critical infrastructure in transportation. Always patching security vulnerabilities and never remaining complacent is key for nations to stay secure and avoid becoming the next victim of a widescale cyber attack.