Cyber Warfare: The Next Frontier of War

Cyber Warfare: In the current digital world where the Internet has become more critical and is being integrated into industrial and defense-related networks worldwide, it has become increasingly important to focus on cyber warfare networks. Cyber ​​warfare uses the Internet as a weapon against an enemy state without any physical presence thus making it one of the deadliest weapons used in the 21st century. The Internet, powered by satellites and maritime cables, has become more relevant to aid national security, such as developing remote radar and national security communication systems.

The use of the Internet in a unified and connected world has made it possible to attack an enemy nation with the click of a keyboard key. Thus, the Internet forms the basis of cyber warfare in the current world.

What is Cyber Warfare?

Cyber warfare refers to the virtual warfare carried out in cyberspace through the internet and cyber methods. Cyberspace can be described as a globally interconnected network of digital infrastructure that includes information and communication infrastructure like computer systems, the Internet and telecommunications networks, and digital information transmitting devices that primarily use the Internet.

Cyber ​​warfare involves agencies organized along nation-state borders, in offensive and defensive operations using computers, which are used to attack other computers or networks through electronic mediums. The impact of cyber warfare varies as per the target and severity. Cyber attackers target real-world infrastructure like international airports, and power grids, by disrupting networks.

Types of Cyber Warfare

Cyber ​​warfare can present many types of threats to any country. At a fundamental level, cyber warfare is used to support the conventional war. But many other methods of cyber warfare also exist. These are:

Espionage: These techniques are used for intelligence where vital information is stolen from enemy servers through communication networks. Out of all cyber attacks, 25% are espionage-based cyber attacks, where the information is related to a country’s infrastructure like transportation, electricity, etc.

Its ​​attackers steal classified and sensitive data to gain an advantage over rival countries. Many cyber attacks use Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) as their tool to secretly enter networks or systems and go undetected for years.

Phishing Attack: This attack sends fake attractive offers to people in an attempt to obtain financial details. Other types of details such as secret and classified information can be obtained through these attacks.

To make the attacks more convincing the attacker uses spear phishing which looks more formal as it uses detailed information like an offer with banners, logos, website addresses, etc which makes it easier for the attacker to get reliable information.

These types of attacks can be used by countries to obtain information from government sources as well as private sources that are providing essential services to government ministries and departments at the central and state levels.

Sabotaging: Sabotage attacks are carried out on the useful and strategic infrastructure of a country. Military and defense components are usually linked and integrated with national-level control systems that run through satellite networks.

Sabotage is an act of disrupting this vital system in order to undermine the military and defense capabilities of a country. In addition to military infrastructure, other types of infrastructure like communication networks, power grids, transportation networks, fuel and water supplies, port infrastructure as well as coal and nuclear power plants are at risk of disruption.

Cyber ​​Propaganda: It also includes cyber propaganda to control information and influence public opinion in a country. This Cyber Warfare is a form of physical warfare and it uses social media, fake news, and other digital mediums that are accessible to large numbers of people. It is a form of long-term warfare and it uses a deliberate, systematic technique to shape perceptions, manipulate minds, and prefer a propagandist to change or modify behavior.

The Challenges of Cyber Warfare

The unique nature of cyber warfare presents many challenges that require specialized mechanisms to deal with them. Some important challenges are:

No Physical Boundaries: Cyberspace has not any physical boundaries. It is not bound by geography and time. Cyber ​​attacks can be carried out from thousands of kilometers without any physical presence. Increasing connectivity makes cyber-attacks possible from anywhere in any country. Cyber ​​attacks have also replaced traditional military attacks in many countries.

Difficult to trace: Cyber ​​attacks are very difficult to trace as they do not leave any proof of any attack. The point of origin cannot be tracked as it is launched by hacking into other computers. Even if the origin is traced, it is not easy to counterattack.

Difficult to defend: In conventional warfare, there are counter-offensive and defensive techniques that are established within the land borders of a country but in cyber warfare, there are no defensive systems that can be established to defend against cyber attacks. Thus, it makes cyberattacks more complex and difficult to defend against.

No Battlefield: There are no general battlefronts in cyber warfare. It can be carried out from anywhere on any network with the use of World Wide Web and satellite communication. Thus, traditional war techniques are being replaced by cyber war techniques that have the potential to create blackouts, rail crashes, and disruption at the financial institutions of a country such as the stock exchanges.

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Currently, there are no rules of engagement either nationally or internationally. Thus, cyberspace warfare remains a borderless and complex entity that has the potential to cause more damage than conventional military warfare. It is considered a modern form of warfare, in which anonymity is the greatest advantage. The rapid expansion of cyber warfare techniques puts people at great risk in developing countries like India.

Organizations like DRDO have developed high-grade cryptographic techniques to protect Indian networks from internal and external attacks. Partnership with the private sector is a necessary step as most of the country’s cyber assets are controlled by entities outside the government. There is an urgent need to train more cybersecurity experts to make Indian cyberspace more secure. India is fortunate to have an expert talent pool that can be deployed to free India from surprise threats.

Thank you for reading this informative article about Cyber Warfare. If you have any questions related to this article Cyber Warfare then comment below in the comment box.

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