Cyberwar: A guide to the frightening future of online conflict

Provided by: TechRepublic
Topic: Security
Format: PDF
With cyberwarfare, the battlefield is going online. Here’s everything you need to know.

WHAT IS CYBERWAR?

At its core, cyberwarfare is the use of digital attacks by one state to disrupt the computer systems of another in order to create significant damage or destruction.

WHAT DOES CYBERWARFARE LOOK LIKE?

Cyberwar is still an emerging concept, but many experts are concerned that it is likely to be a significant component of any future conflicts. As well as troops using conventional weapons like guns and missiles, future battles will also be fought by hackers manipulating computer code.

Governments and intelligence agencies worry that digital attacks against vital infrastructure -- like banking systems or power grids -- will give attackers a way of bypassing a country’s traditional defenses.

Unlike standard military attacks, a cyberattack can be launched instantaneously from any distance, with little obvious evidence in the build-up. And it is often extremely hard to trace such an attack back to its originators. Modern economies, underpinned by computer networks that run everything from sanitation to food distribution and communications, are particularly vulnerable to such attacks.

The head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) Admiral Michael Rogers said his worst case cyberattack scenario would involve “outright destructive attacks”, focused on some aspects of critical US infrastructure and coupled with data manipulation “on a massive scale.” Some experts warn it’s a case of when, not if.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF CYBERWARFARE?

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