Cyber threats from military sector to business

Pierluigi Paganini January 12, 2012

Searching in Internet the words “Cyberwar” and “cyberware” you will immediately realize how high is the interest in the matter. An ocean of information that demonstates the growing interest in the matter and that awaken in many ancestral fears. The spectrum is that of a conflict, the scenario is the cyber space. Governments around the world are gearing up to cope with this massive technology call to arms. The awarenesses of the threat and risks are high and this made ​​it necessary, despite an economically situation disastrous, the allocation of large sums of money to prepare for the new emergency. It ‘clear to all, a cyber threat can cause extensive damage as any military operation, a cyber weapon may claim more lives than an attack and in a more subtle mode.

How is changing the political work of nations in relation to the concept of cyber warfare?
The answer is, fundamentally, every nation has felt the need to define a cyber strategy that must be defined

In the last 10 years Internet usage has increased tenfold, billions of people have been involved. The phenomen is in a constant grow, cyberspace is part of our everyday life, and

“Cybersecurity threats Represent One of the Most Serious national security, public safety, and Economic challenges we face as a nation.”

Operation made in cyberspace have direct and immediate effect in real world. Trade, communications, politic, every thing is in the cyber space driving new world wide economies, everithing must be preserved.
Cyber threats to national security will address military and civil targets with a direct impact in our lives. Foreign governments are investing in technologies giving life to real cyber armies composed of young hackers able to launch sophisticated attack into the networks and systems that control critical infrastructure.
Communication, power grids, transportation networks, facilities, financial systems and hospitals could be harmed causing massive damage and economic disruption.
This is the new way to fight a war.

The global scenario is changing rapidly. Populations that have been considered hostile governments are tightening dangerous relationship with technologically advanced Nations refining their offensive capabilities and increasing concerns about their actual danger. It is the the case of Iran that is showing, or attempts to do so, its new technological face. A nation leading cyber warfare, which is investing heavily in this area, preparating a possible conflict with military operations in which does not hide his intention to make use of cyber capabilities. Much the same for North Korea that has long offensive moves against computer opponents of South Korea aiming to devastate vital components of its social fabric. Banking sector and some government agencies are most affected targets by the North Korean incursions. Small nations that are able to scare the big of the planet, increasing the level of cyber allert for their proximity to technologically advanced nations such as China and Russia.

Another significant aspect of cyber warfare is the ability to conduct operations in complete anonymity. The major concern in the context of military operations is the consensus to action by the international community. A cyber attack shall be carried without notice, can be perpetrated in a continued way over time until achievement of those objectives, and costs are considerably lower to those of a official military campaign.

Direct consequence of these considerations is the forecast of a growing use of military cyber operations due their major effectiveness and lower costs.

The global economic situation is also responsible for another effect that makes it even more insidious cyber threats, the reduction of overall expenditure devoted to cyber defense. Not so much in the military, but in the private sector we have seen a drastic reduction of costs incurred in security, and let consider that the private companies are the backbone of the country. Security is perceived as a cost.  Dont’ forget that countries use cyber operations  also to to exploit business information. China is a good example. The attacks to financial worlds has same distructive potentiality. At risk are patents and intellectual property on  innovative technologies that can determine a country’s competitiveness.

Besides the considerations just mentioned we must take in care ​​some highly destabilizing phenomena for all the countries economically and socially more advanced. Two are the most relevant phenomenons that aggravates a complex scenario, the phenomenon of the hacktivism and the cyber crime.
The cyber crime, an industry that knows no crisis, a destabilizing element which absorbs considerable resources to prevent its effect. The cyber threat as well as having a political stance might be the daughter of criminal intent, but with the same effects of a military offense, the destabilization of a highly volatile context that could inadvertently increase the surface exposure of an entire nation with an impact on safety.
Not least the second aspect that I mentioned, the hacktivism, new form of social protest and expression of dissent. Groups of hackers capable of launching attacks of varying complexity have been shown to be able to bring down governments infrastructures, multinational and financial institutions.
Have you wondered what would happen to the combination of threats I mentioned?
Are we ready to stand up to a blow so devastating? How to prepare our Nations? I conclude borrowing some simple and valuable accounts of the U.S. cyber strategy.

  • Recognizes cyberspace as a sphere of operations. Organize, train and equip forces to perform cybermissions.
  • Let’s implement active defenses mechanism in our networks.
  • Ensure that the national critical infrastructure are protected.
  • Let’s build cooperative defenses with its allies.

Pierluigi Paganini

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