Cyber attack is the hacking of computer systems to conduct attacks that are strategic for the purpose of sabotage to the target. The attacker may be from another state or terrorist. Most states have invested heavily on cyber warfare capability to prevent the numerous effects that may be caused when their systems are hacked into. In cyber attacks disruption that is caused is the main concern.
This is where the attacker gets to learn about sensitive information about the state’s sensitive information. This is done by stealing tactical and strategic information. For instance when information about troop movement, the strength and weaknesses of the weapons system they use is accessed.
This is when the attacker does something that is benign such as malicious replacement of power and water.
How does cyber attack work?
The hackers who can be state sponsored they do attack computer system of a given country which has sensitive information and resources. They later get to know the flaws of the systems and they exploit them to gain control over the system or they maneuver them to their benefit. For instance you can get to know where the troops are going and ambush the place which will be sabotage or you can learn about information that is sensitive which you can use to your advantage which is sabotage.
One thing that is unique with cyber attack warfare is that it is relative easy to launch it and it will lead to huge negative impact to a lot of people. For instance a cyber attack may lead to catastrophic infrastructure failure which may lead to other effects such as contamination of water. Most computer systems are vulnerable to cyber attack since they were created before the existence of cyber attacks and there was no widespread of the internet as we have today.
An attacker can destroy the computer system which will make the computer to stop functioning for instance by the distribution denial of service attack. This can lead to shutdown of the computer system of the target. This tactic was used by Russians during the south Ossetia war this lead to disinformation among the population before Russia attacked them in 2008.
Who is prone to cyber attacks?
Any industry that is considered sensitive can be a target to cyber attack, industries such as weapon manufacturers and national power grid. The worst cyber attacks do target an important asset of the country. A country’s important asset is her citizens; the cyber attack may be launched to destabilize the peace so that the citizens may not fight against their enemies. For instance an attacker may launch a terrorist attack which will dishearten the citizen from fighting back. The attack can also affect the financial sector of the state, to which banks and government already prepares against.
Why cyber attack threatens the society
The two major ways in which a cyber attack may threaten civilians.
- Cyber attack does not differentiate between the civilian and the military. A cyber attack targets both the military and the civilian resources. It can also lead to deaths and a lot of civilian casualties.
- It is hard to know who was behind the cyber attack since the attacker can go through the proxies that mask where the attacker is trafficking from. The computer that was used to commit the cyber attack may be found but it hard to know who was behind the keyboard executing the attack and whether or not the attacker was a government agent.