Soldiers are fighting in Ukraine not only on the front lines, but also in cyber warfare. The owner of a high-tech company offers $100,000 to hack into Russian servers, while Putin-friendly hackers change the websites of Ukrainian offices and publish false information about the fall of Kiev. What is hybrid warfare, what are the cyber threats and how can we ensure cyber security?
Modern warfare is not limited to the clash of soldiers, tanks, planes and helicopters. Warring factions also use cyberbombs. Cyber warfare (hybrid warfare) begins before military action begins, i.e. in peacetime.
Famous words of Carl von Clausewitz: “War is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means”. If the Prussian general is right, cyber warfare is warfare by other means than direct combat with soldiers.
Cyber warfare is part of information warfare. Many experts believe that in practice it is cyberterrorism: attacks on the computer or network infrastructure of an enemy state.
Another manifestation of cyber warfare is internet trolls who create and spread fake news, for example on social networks.
It is not possible to list all types of cyber warfare. Much depends on the creativity and technical skills of the warring parties.
Which countries wage cyberwar?
The world powers most likely to wage cyberwar are the US, China and Russia.
One in four hackers in the US works for the FBI, and the CIA data leak (2016) confirmed that US intelligence agencies use specially designed tools to hack into smartphones, TVs, cars or computers to keep tabs on people around the world.
However, we must not forget that cyber attacks are also a tool for smaller and weaker states, such as Israel, Ukraine and North Korea. Hybrid warfare is a way to level the playing field in a conflict with a potentially stronger opponent.
Who can be the target of cyberwarfare? Cyber
For the aggressor, the purpose of war is to force his opponent into submission. Cyberwarfare is another way of imposing one’s will on another state.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a good example. For the generals, cyberwarfare is “a continuous process leading to the maximum weakening and disintegration of the enemy’s society and state structures”. Russian doctrine says the following about information warfare.
The instrument of this war can be cyberterrorism, and the target can be any part of the telecommunications infrastructure of a declared enemy state.
Cyber warfare – examples :
Attacks on critical infrastructure, including those responsible for energy, fuel, food, water, medical services, transportation or manufacturing services.
Attacks on election systems,
Destroying software on infected computers,
The use of troll farms to create fake news and fake/manipulated comments on social media.
Cyber attacks in recent years
Governments rarely acknowledge cyber attacks. Often there is no proof of guilt and the (often justified) suspicions remain:
The 2007 cyber-attack on Estonia – the largest of its kind attributed to Russia and directed against the state (before the escalation of the war in Ukraine) – completely cut Estonia …