Moving threat landscape: The reality beyond the cyberwarfare

Pierluigi Paganini April 18, 2017

It started quietly as a probability not a reality. Now within months cyberwarfare has become a reality plausible as the air we breathe.

The revelation of governments hacking units has brought light for a new domain of conflict: Cyberwarfare. Once a secret these government agencies were public revealed like the Equation Group as well as the tailored access operations (TAO).

The same tools that are taking place in debates about digital privacy are now operating as you read this, in some digital battle over the internet. This is only the tip of the iceberg and with every disclosure more, we realize that every technology is a risk at bay.


Beyond the inevitable costs for the global economy, the risks for human life are as certain as the damage of physical weapons. One simple program can turn a surveillance camera, a cellphone, a television, or anything into a weapon in a network of connected devices that can bring down massively critical infrastructure services.

Nowadays the development of new cryptologic technologies as well as the implementation of information security frameworks, and awareness is the only guarantee the human existence has to protect itself. If we consider the impact of a massive attack on critical infrastructure, we must also consider that every single service will stop and no one will be able to call asking for help.

More disturbing than the impacts of such attacks is the reality that it is already taking place.

The news of North Korea failing to launch a missile due to US Cyber Command attack bring down a new level of threat landscape and theater of operations for information security. Today the human domain is a target on these cyber operations, and apparently, every aspect of society can suffer damages, like hospitals or even the power grid.

We see today a completely new market of jobs and opportunities emerging alongside these threats to protect us from rogue nation state actors. It is necessary to corporations and partners to unite with law enforcement agencies to develop new tools and awareness to the average citizen. A new framework for cyber security, for pre-emptive readiness has to be taking into account as the first priority to every democratic country connected to the internet.

The US sabotage of North Korea missile is not the only news about cyberwarfare. The Mirai botnet and the dangers of IoT are another example of this ongoing threat on a blink of an eye, on a click of a button. As technologies evolve, we also must evolve the countermeasures to detain those threats. The possibility of state actors managing to interfere in democratic republics corroborates the impact in the civil society that can damage a whole nation and the world, as was in the news the Russia interference in Europe.

We are on a verge of a drastic change in awareness and preparedness in the cyber domain, and we must prepare ourselves for this new reality as it reaches out and affects everyone, everywhere. With the development of new technologies of information security, the creation of jobs can be a reality emerging from the chaos of destruction launched upon us as menaces from these rogue states.

It has been the legacy of Computer Science brings humanity to its better and worst in history. As of today, we must change the reality of that by advancing the importance of security and development of new technologies to withstand such menaces with no cost at all of human lives.


About the author Luis Nakamoto

Luis Nakamoto is a Computer Science student of Cryptology and a enthusiastic of information security having participated in groups like Comissão Especial de Direito Digital e Compliance (OAB/SP) and CCBS (Consciência Cibernética Brasil) as a researcher in new technologies related to ethical hacking, forensics and reverse engineering. Also a prolific and compulsive writer participating as a Redactor to Portal Tic from Sebrae Nacional.

(Security Affairs – cyberwarfare, critical infrastructure)

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – cyberwarfare, critical infrastructure)

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