Cyber Warfare

Cyber Warfare

Most of us are well aware of how important internet security is and we take steps to make certain our sites and information are safe online. Web design and development professionals are aware of making certain a site is properly secure as any information that becomes available and gets into the wrong hands could have devastating results. Cyber warfare takes these types of situations to a whole new level. Cyber warfare is a rather new term to many people, although it has been an action that has been in existence for many years now. Cyber warfare is a conflict that is solely carried out through online resources. This conflict is internet based and it is a politically motivated attack on either information or information systems. A cyber warfare attack can completely disable a network or an official website. It can disable or disrupt essential services, alter or steal classified data as well as cripple financial systems.

Who can “attack”?

According to most experts in the field, any country can carry out a cyber war attack on another country. This type of “attack” does not require enormous resources therefore any country could participate. Most national military forces are connected to the internet and they are centered on a network; this can make them very un-secure. It is possible for a knowledgeable individual or a non-governmental group to launch a cyber warfare attack as well.

Examples of Cyber Warfare

There are several examples of actual cyber warfare at work. In 1998, the US hacked into the air defense system of Serbiain order to compromise their air traffic control centers which allowed for the bombing of several Serbian targets. In 2007, Estonia used a series of more than a million computers were used to bring down websites all across the country. This included business sites, media sites, and government sites all across Estonia. Russia was accused of originating the attack because of the political tension that existed between the two countries. In the same year, an unidentified foreign party was able to hack into various high tech as well as military agencies in theUS. They were able to download terabytes of information from these sources. And in 2009 the “GhostNet” was able to gain access to various confidential information that belonged to private and governmental organizations from more than 100 countries from around the globe. GhostNet’s origin was reportedly China, but the country completely denied responsibility of the acts.

Also in 2009 there was a report that was released that showed how susceptible theUSelectrical grid was to cyber attacks. If an attack of this nature was carried out, it could not only shut off electricity for literally hundreds of millions of US residents; it could actually cripple the nation. In the report, it was claimed that there had already been a breach of the grid by bothChinaandRussia. Supposedly, both of these nations had left software behind that could be remotely activated. Even though an attack of this magnitude has not yet occurred, if it was combined with a military attack it could be catastrophic.

Is there any Protection against Cyber Warfare?

Over the last few years, most of the nations who are major military players have devoted huge amounts of time, energy and money to explore and develop cyber warfare. China has probably received more press for their programs than most, but there have also been many reports about the US and Russia developing such programs. For the most part there have not been any serious attacks but there is a growing concern that there could be enough groundwork laid presently which could allow a war to be waged mostly through using communications technology. Securing networks and information is the most effective way to protect against cyber warfare. All systems should have security updates; and this includes systems that are not considered as critical since any system that is vulnerable could be strung together and used to carry out attacks. This requires planning which involves comprehensive disaster recovery which also includes provision in case there were extended outages.