From bayonets to drones, the landscape of warfare has constantly evolved. The first stealth submarine was built during WW2, covered by a special rubber coating that made it difficult to detect by sonar. Users of this aquatic advancement were considered to be cheating on a battlefield others thought to be fair. Jumping forward to the present day, the same can be said of the secretive ways cyber-attacks are used to gain an advantage in combat.
There is no one way cyber-attacks can be used to gain the upper hand in warfare. They can sabotage government computer systems, be used to gain crucial military intelligence, block citizens from accessing and releasing vital information, or even from viewing media outlets at all. The major appeal of choosing this unconventional weapon is that it’s stealthy, relatively cheap to develop, and can be done anonymously. It can often be impossible to measure the scale and scope of the cyber-attacks launched.
In the recent and ongoing Russian attacks on Ukraine, internet services have become one of the main targets. According to an article by Kevin Collier and Yuliya Talmazan, the British Ministry of Defense stated, “Russia is probably targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure in order to reduce Ukrainian Citizens’ access to reliable news and information.”
The article goes on to include the expert viewpoint of John Spencer, the chair of urban warfare studies at the Madison Policy Forum in New York City. Spencer adds, “A byproduct of the information war aspect is it prevents civilians from shaping their narrative. But first and foremost, what militaries do is eliminate all capabilities to communicate with each other so they can’t organize fighting; they can’t give each other instructions.”
So, what does it mean for you? How does cyber warfare affect your life when Russia and the Ukraine are thousands of miles away from the U.S.? Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately the threat is closer than you know. The White House has issued warnings that Russia could be planning to launch cyber-attacks against critical U.S. infrastructure. This is in response to the U.S. sanctions against Russia that were meant to aid in ending the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
Even though the threat of an incoming cyber-attack is always constant, you should maintain a further heightened state of cyber security awareness during this time. Multi-factor authentication, a disaster recovery plan or system, endpoint detection & response, and strong and unique passwords are just some of the ways you can make sure your systems are secured. Seek out Managed Security Services that can monitor cyber threats around-the-clock at a fraction of the cost that it would take to do in-house. Overall, being skeptical and inquisitive about any unusual messages received can also play a big part in shutting down a potential cyber-attack.
If you’d like to continue this conversation about Cybersecurity, connect with one of our knowledgeable cybersecurity experts to discuss the extent of this threat and how we can help protect your critical infrastructures.