Cyber Warfare Is The New Frontier

Cyber warfare is the next frontier of war, where one state uses viruses and hacking to cripple an enemy state’s computer systems, take down their electronic and power systems, removing their ability to access information and communication. Cyber warfare methods have already been used to compromise various countries’ computer systems and infrastructure. Misinformation campaigns are being widely used across the Internet to influence elections in the UK and US. Alongside the US, Russia, China, Iran and N Korea are among the more prepared nations in terms of cyber warfare capabilities.

This is triggering a cyber arms race, with more than 30 countries trying to develop more advanced capabilities while simultaneously upgrading their defences.

Right now, there is a lack of clear international rules governing the use of cyber weapons. Currently there is disagreement as to what cyberwar actually is and might be in the future. This is broadly similar to the arguments that went on prior to the 1st World War about airplanes and whether they had a credible military function. The initial campaigns of 1914 proved that cavalry could no longer provide the reconnaissance expected by their generals, in the face of the greatly increased firepower of twentieth century armies and it was quickly realised that aircraft could at least locate the enemy.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic there has been an upsurge of incidents related to cyber attacks, hacking and data breaches, which highlights that the Internet is not safe. It is imperative to be aware of cyber warfare, as awareness is the first most important step to understanding its implications. Cyber warfare currently refers to cyber-attacks by one country or state against another. However, it can also be an attack by hackers or terrorists aimed at furthering the mission of the individual nation. Government spy agencies are using cyber hacking to view and steal secret data about government intentions. 

Furthermore, cyber attacks can take down a countries electrical and electronic systems and attacks could alter stock prices, knock out emergency services, weaken military responsiveness and disrupt the economy. 

Despite the efforts of the EU tries to obtain a common cyberspace policy and common regulations on the internet,  there are  gaps in the cyber policymaking that leaves the EU nations to cyber threats.  As global tensions grow and cyber weapons mature, it seems evident that this digital iteration of international conflict is occurring with few to no agreed upon (or even informally understood) laws of cyber conflict, increasing uncertainty, the potential for collateral damage, and the likelihood of unintended escalation.

Cyber warfare can be launched instantly, leaving room for speculation and making it difficult to counter. The weapons of cyber war are like those being used by cyber-criminals. It can vary from the very sophisticated to the complete basic. DDoS is one of the unruly weapons. Spear-phishing and social engineering are other standard weapons used to introduce an attacker to the computer of an opponent.

In a cyber war, the chance of early warning is non-existent and it can be very difficult to identify who may have attack ed you. The future of cyber warfare will be determined by two things: 

  • Mindset: The great advances in information and communications technology have an unprecedented impact on our society; a considerable percentage of our life and activities has come to depend heavily on information infrastructure.  This dependence is very much apparent in both the public and private sectors.
  • Technology: Vital factors of public life such as air, road, and railway traffic control, the dissemination of energy like electricity or gas, telecommunication systems, key government sectors such as national defense are now organized and controlled through the use of computers and networked systems. 

Since there is no international law that governs the use of cyber-arms, the legal status of this new frontier is still blurred.

This does not mean that cyber warfare is not covered by the law. The Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCoE) has released a textbook called Tallinn Manual, which covers the rare but serious cyber-threats. The manual sets out when a cyber-attack is a breach of international law and how nations can respond to such violations.

Under the pressure of cyber warfare, the governments of many countries have unveiled a viable national security policy to ensure the security of their information infrastructure in cyber space. 

Together with the convenience technology has brought, it has also caused a surge in cyber-threats, which tells another story. 
However, there is no need to stop adopting technology, but we should determine what rules will control its uses. In the same line, cyber warfare is an uncharted area, which will raise risk situations. Only by increasing security and collecting intelligence, new policies to strengthen security practices be built.

Future Technology::      Infosecurity Magazine:    Risk Based Security:       The Cove:     

NextWeb:      HelpNetSecurity:    VHR:       Tech Times:        Wired:    

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