Security threats were once visible and easily identifiable, today’s cyber threats are invisible and anonymous. Where once warfare had clear rules and boundaries, modern cyber warfare is largely anarchic and without borders. As a result, governments and corporations alike are struggling to identify threats, let alone combat them effectively. This calls for an entirely new security discourse.
Cyberwarfare is Internet-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Cyberwarfare attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems Cyber warfare has been defined as “actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks for the purposes of causing damage or disruption”, but other definitions also include non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, companies, political or ideological extremist groups, hacktivists, and transnational criminal organization
Examples of Cyberwarfare-
• In 1998, the United States hacked into Serbia’s air defence system to compromise air traffic control and facilitate the bombing of Serbian targets.
• In 2007, in Estonia, a botnet of over a million computers brought down government, business and media websites across the country. The attack was suspected to have originated in Russia, motivated by political tension between the two countries.
• Also in 2007, an unknown foreign party hacked into high tech and military agencies in the United States and downloaded terabytes of information.
• In 2009, a cyber spy network called “GhostNet” accessed confidential information belonging to both governmental and private organizations in over 100 countries around the world. GhostNet was reported to originate in China, although that country denied responsibility.
Espionage: Espionage is basically taking information that wasn’t meant for you. In the case of cyber warfare, you’re going to be stealing tactical and strategic information: information about troop movements, the strengths and weaknesses of weapon systems, the dispositions of various and anything else about sensitive (read: necessary to wage war) resources that might be important to know.
Sabotage: Also called “direct action,” this is when we take an active role and go out there and do something. In cyber warfare sabotage can be something as benign as dropping a government’s website to causing a nuclear meltdown at a nuclear plant. It’s a pretty broad phrase, but just remember it means “do something” whereas espionage here means “learn something.”
Hillary Clinton– “We need a military that is ready and agile so it can meet the full range of threats and operate on short notice on every domain, not just land, sea, air, and space, but also cyber space,”.
Barrack Obama – Look, we’re moving into a new era here where a number of countries have significant capacities,” Obama said. “But our goal is not to suddenly, in the cyber arena, duplicate a cycle of escalation that we saw when it comes to other arms races in the past, but rather to start instituting some norms so everybody’s acting responsibly.”
Cyber security is not simply a clear-cut technical issue. It is a strategic, political, and social phenomenon with all the accompanying messy nuances. Therefore, cyber reality must be examined with a scientific rigour by all disciplines, enabling an informed public debate. It is both morally essential and rationally effective for the responses to be formulated through a democratic process.