The Strategist

Internet: The New Battlefield

10/12/2015 - 19:01

More and more countries are being involved in the development and use of various cyber weapons: even countries of modest means can use such weapons due to the relative cheapness and easiness. Another feature of such kind of confrontations is anonymity.

According to analysts of The Wall Street Journal, the world is increasingly turning to the cyber race. Development, purchase and use of such funds are relatively cheap and simple, allowing dozens of countries to join the game. As the professor of the US Naval War College and a member of a group on studying the relation of international law to cyber weapon Michael Schmitt put it: "This is not the same as that to develop, for example, the air force, the costs and the necessary competence. You do not need your own cyber weapons to have very reliable and dangerous offensive capabilities. "

In recent times, hacker attacks on government institutions and companies have increased around the world. In April this year, the US Department of Defense published a new strategy for an armed response to cyber threats. For the first time it was aired that Pentagon is ready to take retaliatory action in case of a particular damage. In addition, the strategy has first revealed countries, which, according to the US military, bear the greatest threat to the United States: Russia and China. It was expected that during Xi Jinping’s last visit in the United States, the leaders signed an agreement on not to carrying out cyber attacks on each other’s critical infrastructures in peacetime. Yet, the document was left blank; the parties have limited themselves by verbal agreement not to engage in industrial cyber-espionage. In May, an agreement on non-aggression in cyberspace was signed between China and Russia.

According to The Wall Street Journal, at least more than 60 developing countries have already got tools for espionage and cyber attacks on the Internet; 29 of them have units specializing in cyber weapons. We are talking about different countries - India and Pakistan regularly commit cyber attacks on websites of state institutions and companies of each other, Belarus and Estonia, according to the WSJ, are developing defense systems against Russia, and Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Argentina are working on offensive cyber weapons. In August, it was reported that the UK is ready to move to a more active and even offensive measures to eliminate threats posed by hackers for the country. Britain intends to tenfold increase funding for the fight against Russian and Chinese hackers - £ 2 billion will be allocated to deal with them over the next five years.

In addition, the creation of cyber weapons is cheap compared to other modern weapons - countries may not develop their own software, but buy it abroad. The opportunities of Internet confrontation are nearly infinite. Different countries develop software that allows getting access to information and stealing money, disrupting radar networks and airlines, turn off the enemy from the Internet. The most common type of cyber attack is the penetration into computer network and cyber espionage; some go even further - destroy data stored on the hacked computers, or even destroy physical objects. Another feature is the increasingly high degree of anonymity - as opposed to conventional military attack, cyber attacks are often impossible to be traced with certainty. "In the case of some countries, we know their capabilities, but it is not always so. We do not have information about the tools available to some "- said Andre McGregor, a former FBI agent and now the director of a startup Tanium, specializing in cybersecurity.