The Use of Cyber Attacks in Warfare is Growing

Laura BednarCybersecurityLeave a Comment

cyber warfare grows in use between countries

The idea of warfare usually brings to mind soldiers, physical weapons, and negotiations through monitored phone calls. The digital revolution has affected every aspect of our lives but has also become a part of a country’s defense plan when in conflict with other nations. The term cyber warfare is defined as using digital attacks to disrupt a computer system of another country.

Breaking Down Cyberwarfare

Cyberwarfare is not simply between individuals and is only classified as warfare if it is a conflict between nations. The severity of the attack determines if it reaches the warfare level. A country’s computer systems may seem to be the initial target of a politically-charged attack, but often taking down the system is only the first step to achieving a much larger objective. Taking out the computers, in turn, can shut down an airport, traffic stops, or in recent news, an Iranian missile.

The New York Times reported that the United States Cyber Command conducted online attacks on June 20. These attacks were reportedly aimed at computer systems that control Iranian missile launches. The only way to test the effectiveness of the attack is to see if Iran attempted and failed to fire a missile.

Another problem with cyber attacks is that military personnel and cybersecurity teams have no way of anticipating oncoming attacks and any preventative measures in place may not be strong enough. Attacks aren’t strictly for war machinery or drones, cyber attacks can affect several other industries in an attempt to weaken a country’s defenses. Such industries are:

  • Aviation–pilots can pass malware to plane systems through their phones and other mobile devices.
  • Healthcare–an attacker could cause technology to malfunction like surgery assisted robots, resulting in injury or death
  • Digital Espionage–stealing information for political purposes to create technology based on the dataset.

Past Cyberwar Strikes

The US attack on Iranian missiles is not the first time a country has made an attempt at interfering through the use of technology. There have been many politically-driven cyber attacks through the years:

  • The G20 Summit in 2011 was attacked with a dose of malware. It hit 150 of the French finance ministry’s 170,000 computers.
  • Operation Cleaver in 2014 attacked the infrastructure of 16 countries affecting industries like airlines, energy, oil and gas, government agencies, and universities.
  • Shadow Network in 2010 was an espionage attack that stole classified information on Indian security and government, NATO troop activity, and data from the office of the Dalai Lama.

Increasing National Security

Countries everywhere are coming to realize that having experienced and professional cyber engineers to defend against attacks may be a powerful asset to their existing military operation. While technology experts can defend against attacks, they may also be the people to create malware and other threats that can take down a country’s vital operations.

There are currently no international laws regarding the subject of cyber warfare as the concept has just become prominent in recent times. A NATO-affiliated group known as the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Estonia created the Tallinn Manual. This document outlines when an attack is a violation of international law in the cyber realm and builds a legal framework around cyber attacks that are not serious enough to reach the point where the use of force is necessary.

While the current laws relating to cyberwarfare are somewhat piecemeal, there are resources to aid countries in the event of a cyber attack. Our expert investigators at Secure Forensics can find and stop a data breach as well as work no devices and operating systems that have been hit by malware and spyware. We also offer hardware encrypted storage devices with FIPS 140-2 level 3 security to prevent any data leaks. If you are the victim of a cyber attack or need a secure way to store your sensitive digital files, call about our services at 1-800-388-1266.