27 May 2020

Five things you need to know about cyber war

Source Link

Cyber threats are part of the new way of war and will becoming increasingly common. Countries such as Iran have developed cyber capabilities, and other countries, such as the US, Russia and China may seek to act in the cyber realm as they jockey for power in the world.

A recent report of an Iranian cyberattack on Israel has put a spotlight on the threat. Israel is one of many countries that now faces threats and is also well placed to deal with them, having sought to create cyber defenses over the years. Here are some key issues involved with cyber war.

Iran has already threatened cyber warfare After the US killed IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, it was concerned about Iranian cyber retaliation against US infrastructure, such as the electricity grid, accord to Forbes. Iran already targeted Saudi’s Aramco in 2017. In 2019, Iranian hackers also targeted various businesses and oil refineries. Tehran is known to want to strike back for sanctions Washington has imposed.
Iran increased its cyber capabilities after the Stuxnet virus harmed its nuclear program between 2005 and 2010. The Islamic Republic wanted to respond to what it believed were US and Israeli threats. It also saw that cyber could give it a new weapon, exploiting this new field where it could excel while under sanctions. It recruited youth through its IRGC Basij militias, a kind of "Cyber Hezbollah" to strike at enemies.

The US launched a cyberattack on Iran in June 2019

Iran downed a sophisticated US drone in June 2019. Rather than launch airstrikes, the US decided to use a cyberattack against Iranian weapon systems. The story was revealed on June 23. The attack disabled computer systems that are involved in controlling missiles and rockets. Because countries have a lot of technology and communications, cyber can wreak havoc among militaries. Various electronic systems are used to link radars, personnel and missiles to air defense systems. Cyberattacks can disable networks and links, and cause an enemy to be vulnerable to threats.

Everyone is getting in on cyberattacks

Cyber incidents are rapidly increasing, studies show. Recent incidents, according to a list from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, show that Russia may have targeted Poland and Estonia. Azerbaijan was targeted by an unknown state. Vietnam has been accused of targeting neighbors. China has accused the CIA of being behind a hacking campaign. Chinese hackers have been accused of hacking others. North Korea is also mentioned frequently in reports of cyber threats.

The key question when reviewing the almost weekly incidents of cyber threats is whether they are state-sponsored or just teams of hackers based in a certain country. It is not always known how these threats work together, whether countries create teams of hackers or if they are independent. Countries frequently report systematic attacks, but cannot identify their origin. Nevertheless governments and companies, for instance, have accused state-sponsored Chinese hackers of campaigns.

What can cyberattacks do?

Cyber is a large realm that can involve hacking or theft of information. But what is the actual threat? Because societies now rely more and more on communications and information systems such as computer networks to run complex grids and machines, countries are more vulnerable. This can mean air traffic control or railway controls, electricity grids and gas installations. Government areas, including national defense and banks can be affected.

This means there is no front line and the new battlefield is complex and immense. In a sense, it means that the home front is more vulnerable. But military communications and complex systems that deal with air defense or network soldiers can also be threatened.

Military units today give off a huge electronic signature, an issue revealed in recent drills in the US. So while military units can hide, they now have so many systems, such as tablets used to control drones or active protection systems on tanks, that these systems may be vulnerable in the field. Electronic warfare and jamming signals is a major part of disrupting armies today. The number of reported cyber incidents has increased every year.

There are many predictions about how cyber war may soon outrank other aspects of war or become a central way of fighting war. However, many companies are already defending against cyber threats every day, and countries are as well. In a sense, this “war” is already here and it is a struggle of attrition without heroes or victories. But national power grids have not been destroyed and most of life continues as normal. When a cyberattack hits a port, it scrambles computers and slows operations but doesn’t cripple it forever.

Why is Israel so great at cyber

Israel has been at the forefront of defending against cyber threats and detecting them. Israel acted early to set up defenses and to create a large number of cyber warriors and also systems within the defense establishment to push for more of a role for cyber. Israeli cyber security companies and start-ups are recognized around the world. According to one report, there are more than 200 Israeli companies focused on cyber-security and it has become more than a $3 billion industry.

A report several years ago, publicized by Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, noted that a quarter of the world’s venture capital-funded cyber security startups are Israeli. By 2017 Israel had created another 300 cybersecurity startups and was exporting $6.5 billion in cybersecurity products with about 20% of the global investment in this technology, according to a speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel is a cyber behemoth. In the realm of defending against the threats, whether national or in other forms, Israel is leading the way. It is thus well-placed to deal with these threats – and the recent incident involving Iran is a rarity.

No comments: