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The Potential Threats of Cyber War

What are the potential threats of cyber war on the global stage? See how this is already playing out in the article below....
The Potential Threats of Cyber War
Written by Brian Wallace
  • Before Russia began their assault, Ukraine suffered from a new malware designed to erase data. More than 150 cyberattacks were launched against Ukraine in the first few weeks of 2022 with hackers disabling about 70 government systems and the FBI asking companies in the U.S. to let them know of “any increased (cyber)activity against Ukraine or U.S. critical infrastructure.” In fact, the world was hit by more than 6 billion potential cyberattacks happening in a single 24-hour period in March. 

    Russia was hit by 61% of the cyberattacks while Ukraine experienced 23% of the attacks, the most out of all the countries targeted. For Russia particularly the war with Ukraine is possibly providing the country a way to test their next generation of cyber weapons. Ukraine’s limited resources to aid in a counter-attack make the country a good testing ground. 

    Increasing Threats of Cyber Attacks

    The number of cyberattacks have significantly grown over the years. In 2015, Russian hackers disrupted 230,000 Ukrainian’s electricity source while in 2016 a similar attack was carried out on the Ukrainian government agencies and financial establishments. These incidents have led the U.S. and the E.U. to provide support to increase Ukraine’s cyber defenses. However, cyberattacks are predicted to not stay within its borders, so another option for support is tpo have pro-Ukraine hackers attack websites in Russia instead of important infrastructure to create chaos internally.  

    Within the U.S., 32% of tech executives are emphasizing the seriousness of creating a national cybersecurity protocol for protection. With cyber and physical assets gradually getting more connected, risks are increasing in terms of network and physical infrastructure security. The pandemic has only made us more vulnerable to cyberthreats as more of our information enters the cloud and a handful of services continue to be provided digitally. 

    The Scale of Cyber War

    If we experience a cyberattack today, it probably won’t be as devastating as a cyber war as they are mainly used to test new cyberweapons. Nonetheless, cyberattacks can still cause electrical grids to shut down, power infrastructures to explode, and technology to be destroyed.. The effect could even be magnified if an attack successfully disrupts multiple targets at one time. 

    A cyber war instead has the potential to impact everyone on the level of a natural disaster. An act such as destroying the power grid could cause great damage due to burst pipes, loss of essential water, food, and electrical sources,  disruption to everyone’s lives, and ultimately more than 200 deaths. In the U.S., more than 90% of citizens are afraid of a cyber war breaking out even though many people believe the U.S. is the most protected against cyber war attacks. 

    Expert Witness Perspective

    “Besides obviously providing a mechanism for attacking military targets, cyberwar offers nations the ability to surreptitiously interfere with the lives of civilians living in opponents’ domains. Cyberwar lets warring nations inflict power failures or Internet outages, disable payment processing networks, and/or cause mass transportation and traffic control failures, all of which may not only offer attackers plausible deniability, but, may simultaneously cause the populations of adversarial nations to grow increasingly frustrated with their own leaders and less supportive of continuing the relevant conflict.” said Joseph Steinberg, cybersecurity expert witness.

    In Summary

    Cyberattacks can still pose a serious threat as 90% of attacks are distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which cause people to lose access to resources such as finances, running water, internet, and fresh food. Americans have actually begun to take measures to protect themselves from a potential cyber war. This involves actions like backing up their electronics and important documents as well as updating all computer and mobile software. 

    It’s never too late to build a strong cyber defense. 

    Next Gen Cyber Warfare

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