Introduction

A great deal of data is at risk and isn’t handled properly. It has been predicted that Cybersecurity will define many of the future’s international wars and clashes. Cyberwarfare is a network-based attack on nations, citizens, and governments through computer systems.

Cyber Warfare involves the use of technology to attack countries, especially for military or strategic purposes and Cyber-espionage. Such an attack could be initiated by terrorist groups or hacker groups aimed at harming individual nations’ goals. Hackers are experts in withdrawing the necessary information about a specific country online and plan an attack. Unlike standard weapons of destruction, Cyberwarfare is challenging to trace, leaving room for speculations.

In this article let us look at:

  1. Cyber Warfare Meaning
  2. Types of Cyber Warfare
  3. Effects of Cyber Warfare
  4. Implications of Cyber Warfare
  5. Cyber Warfare Facts
  6. Cyber Warfare Solutions

1) Cyber Warfare Meaning

Cyberwarfare definition is vital to understand because of the kind of environment we live in. Cyberspace potential hackers include national intelligence/competitors, Cyber warriors – military motivated, Cyber-terrorist, corporate competitors/industrial espionage, organized crime, insider/employees, and hackers. 

The following networks are at risk facing a Cyber-attack from enemy nations, terrorists and criminal groups – 

  1. The banking system: Stock exchange, logic bombs could destroy records of transactions, and money can be stolen by cracking networks. 
  2. Electrical utilities and Power plants: power grids can be damaged through local and regional blackouts. 
  3. Telephone networks can be knocked down. 
  4. Air Traffic Control Centers
  5. Trains and subways crash due to misrouting trains. 
  6. Battlefield tanks – computer controls can be crippled.

2) Types of Cyber Warfare

1. Malware, viruses, and computer worms that can break down a nation’s critical infrastructure such as power grids, military systems, critical infrastructures, transportation systems, and water supplies. These systems run on the internet and even if they are well secured, perpetrators are capable of exploiting them.

2. Hacking critical data from businesses, institutions, and governments. Attacking the government’s computer systems prevent officials from communicating with each other, enable attackers to steal confidential conversations, steal personal data such as passport information, tax information, etc.

3. Ransomware captures computer systems until the victim pays the ransom. This is usually categorized under disorganized crime wherein the online world’s petty criminals come together to plan attacks. Interestingly, these individuals lack technical knowledge and are managing to do well because of the free or low-cost tools available in the market. Their hiring fee is also low as compared to professional hackers who are experts.

3) Effects of Cyber Warfare

According to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA),  this attack aims to weaken and disrupt the United States of America. For this purpose, unique national Cyberwarfare programs were designed to harm US interests.

National Counterintelligence and Security Center, in its 2018 Foreign Economic Espionage in Cyberspace report, stated that China’s Cybersecurity laws have made it mandatory for foreign companies to submit their technology to the Chinese government for scrutiny. 

The US’s infrastructure has been disrupted to attack its economy or when attacked by the US, its ability to damage another nation has been reduced through Cybersecurity attacks. For instance, controlling a router between supervisory control and data acquisition sensors and controllers in critical infrastructure such as the telecom sector can badly damage the targeted industry. 
Cyber attacks are also used to destabilize governments. As per the Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference In the 2016 Presidential Election, Russia’s Internet Research Agency used social media accounts and interest groups to harm the US political system through an ‘information warfare’. The effects of Cyberwarfare have been catastrophic for most nations and governments.

4) Implications of Cyber Warfare

Cyberspace has been a medium to control military operations, harm business, steal data, and numerous countries have made considerable investments to defend against Cybercrimes. Most nations have witnessed Cyber attacks wherein professional hackers have tried to steal important information and data. 

“Hit the computers and you can blackout the airport and the power station in no time as its consequence,” states Sourav Mukherjee in his article “Cybercrime and its implications.” Attackers start with financial institutions such as banks. The bank balance may drop to zero as a result of a Cyber-attack. Stock prices get moving crazy as a result of hackers leaking data. There have been attempts to jam train signal boards at the railway stations causing a delay in trains’ running. The spectrum of Cyberwarfare issues is wide, and it has been predicted that nations may be abridged to congestion and chaos as a result of hackers getting stronger in their attacks.

5) Cyber Warfare Facts

  • 95% of breached records in 2016 have come from just three industries that include government, technology, and retail.
  • The frequency of a hacker attack is every 39 seconds. Usually, non-secure usernames and passwords allow hackers to attack more easily.
  • Most Cyber attacks target small businesses.
  • Due to Covid-19, there has been a drastic increase in the reported Cybercrimes as informed by the US FBI.
  • Over the past three years, about 93% of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach.
  • Phishing attacks can be best defended through human intelligence and comprehension.
  • Unfilled Cybersecurity jobs will reach over 4 million by 2021.
  • Human error leads to more than 95% of Cybersecurity breaches.
  • Most organizations lack a Cyber Security Incident Response plan. 

6) Cyber Warfare Solutions

No organization is safe from an attack that could potentially damage the company’s data, reputation, and finances. Nations are paying heaps of money and rewarding information providers about hackers that pose a significant threat to their integrity and state. There are many ways through which nations, organizations, and individuals can reduce their risk of becoming a victim to a Cyberattack.

It is mandatory to protect key infrastructure by keeping in mind that an attack can happen anytime. Nations need to be ready with the right people and resources to prone long term damage, protecting against human shortcomings, and sharing acumen with similar organizations by conducting online workshops about measures to prevent Cyber Warfare. Adopting to hardware authentication, analytics, data loss prevention, machine learning, and cloud techniques help in Cyber Warfare prevention.

Solutions for Cyber Warfare are as follows:
  1. Train employees in Cybersecurity measures and principles.
  2. Regularly update antispyware and anti-virus on every system used in the business.
  3. Firewall connection for the internet.
  4. Download software updates regularly for application as they become available.
  5. Create backup copies of business information and data.
  6. Control access to network components and computers.
  7. Secure the Wi-Fi network of your workplace.
  8. Track individual user accounts for each employee.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information and limit the authority to install the software.
  10. Change passwords regularly.

Conclusion

With the expansion of the internet and full use of the World Wide Web (WWW), advanced criminal actions such as internet-driven fraud, Cyberstalking etc. has increased. Technology experts and scholars have advised nations to prioritize and invest in strength for nuclear assault systems and work powerfully towards preventing the nation’s critical infrastructure systems. Developing and using a playbook of sorts, can be used in advance to control and guide in responding to a substantial Cyberattack.

If you’d like to learn more about Cybersecurity, Jigsaw Academy’s Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) is the right course for you! Powered by HackerU, Israel’s Premier Cyber Security Training Provider, this course runs 600 hours long and is conducted live, online.

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