A New Age of Warfare

The US is cyber-attacking Russia’s power grid, just as Russia is hacking the US and both are engaged in offensive hacking in ways that are more aggressive than in the past. But Is this hacking really much different from what’s gone on for many years? Does it boost the chances of a cyber arms race or a cyberwar?

One thing is clear: Cyberspace is now seen by senior miltary officers and officials as just another “domain” of warfare, along with air, land, sea, and space. But there’s something different and more dangerous about this domain: 

It takes place out of sight, its operations are so highly classified that only a few people know what’s going on there, and it creates an inherently hair-trigger situation, which could unleash war in lightning speed with no warning. All the major cyber powers, the United States, Russia, China, Israel, France, Britain, and perhaps to some extent, Iran, Syria, and a few others, have been able to hack into one another’s “critical infrastructure” such as, power grids, financial systems, transportation lines, water works, which have been hooked up to computer networks for the past 25 years. From time to time, these countries have actually hacked into these things.

In one sense, these intrusions are no different from any other form of intelligence gathering. In another sense, though, they’re very different. 

With cyber operations, once you’ve hacked into a network, you can disrupt or disable it. Exploring a network and destroying it involve the same technology, personnel, and know-how; it takes just one step, and next to no time, to go from exploring to destroying. In a crisis, one or more of these countries might launch a cyberattack, if just to preempt one of the other countries from doing it first. The very existence of the implants makes a preemptive attack more likely.

There’s another disturbing development in cyberwar: The whole enterprise has slipped out of the oversight and control of our political leaders. 

Last summer, President Donald Trump signed a classified directive giving US Cyber Command leeway to mount cyber offensive operations at its own initiative. Before then, such operations, even tactical operations on the battlefield, had to be personally approved by the president. The premise of the old policy, during the Bush II and Obama administrations, was that cyber weapons were something new: Their effects were somewhat unpredictable and could spiral out of control. 
One consequence is that Cyber Command now feels less constrained about going on the offensive. 

Richard Clarke, the former cybersecurity chief in President Bill Clinton’s White House and co-author of a forthcoming book on cyberwar called The Fifth Domain, said in an email, “The Trump administration may be trying to create a situation of Mutually Assured Destruction, similar to the 1960s strategic nuclear doctrine.” However, Clarke added, “Cyber is different in many ways.” First is the issue of what strategist’s call “crisis instability”, the hair-trigger situation, in which one side might launch an attack, in order to preempt the other side launching an attack. 

There is also the uncertainty of “attribution”, the country attacked might not know for certain who planted the malicious code and might mistakenly strike back at an innocent party, thus triggering an inadvertent war.

US Cyber Command was founded in 2009. It has since grown enormously, in size, scope, mission, and, since last summer’s directive, autonomy. Cyber offensive technology has been around for much longer still. Cyberwar technology has evolved far more quickly than the thinking about how to use the technology in wartime. 

With last summer’s directive taking its use out of the control and supervision of our political leaders, the decisions to use it will be made entirely by the military officers who developed the technology, and whose budgets depend, in part, on its growing prominence.

Slate:           I-HLS:

You Might Also Read:

The ‘Rules’ Of Modern Warfare Are Being Rewritten:

 

 

« Cyber Criminals Have Created An Invisible Internet
Russia's National AI Strategy Takes Shape »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

Cylance Smart Antivirus

Cylance Smart Antivirus

An antivirus that works smarter, not harder, from BlackBerry. Lightweight, non-intrusive protection powered by artificial intelligence. BUY NOW - LIMITED DISCOUNT OFFER.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network as a Service designed to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce.

Optimum Insurance

Optimum Insurance

Optimum's Cyber Risk & Data Protection Insurance policies are designed to protect against cyber exposures that arise when a company’s data and customer information is breached or stolen.

Beachhead Solutions

Beachhead Solutions

Beachhead's SimplySecure is a configurable, web-based management tool allowing you to remotely secure vulnerable mobile devices in your organization.

NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA)

NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA)

The NCIA Cyber Security Service Line is responsible for planning and executing all life cycle management activities for cyber security.

Agesic

Agesic

Agesic is an institution that leads the development of the Digital Government and the Information and Knowledge Society in Uruguay.

IdentityMind

IdentityMind

IdentityMind helps you win the fight against fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, and terrorist financing.

IP Twins

IP Twins

IP Twins offer a wide range of services related to domain names and online brand protection.

Cyber Defense by Q

Cyber Defense by Q

Cyber Defense by Q provides specialist consulting services in the areas of Information Security, Technical Security, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), and Cloud Security.

Adit Ventures

Adit Ventures

Adit Ventures is a venture capital firm with a focus on dynamic growth sectors including AI & Machine Learning, Big Data, Cybersecurity and IoT.