Cyber – The Future of War

The United States, UK, the European Union, & NATO released joint statements on 19th July 2021 condemning the series of malicious cyber activities of the Chinese government. According to the statement, China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) was behind the world-wide cyber-attacks including ransomware attacks, cyber extortion, crypto-jacking etc. Statement said that PRC is behind Microsoft Exchange Server hack and PRC’s actions threaten security, confidence, and stability in cyberspace. It said that Biden Administration is working to modernize the federal networks and improve cyber security of critical infrastructure. 

Recently a group of hackers, known as Belarus Cyber Partisans obtained sensitive Government information and started leaking it to the public. It was a cyber attempt to overthrow the Government and end the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko. Earlier in December 2020, various US government agencies (US Treasury, Justice and Commerce department etc) and hundreds of organizations around the world, were said to have been breached by Russian hackers. It is said to be one of the sophisticated attacks, aimed at collecting intelligence.  Further the recent example of fuel supplies infrastructure operated by Colonial Pipeline are stark example of the mounting challenges of twenty first century. It has been alleged that Chinese-made 5G networking equipment were designed to install programs in the network, proposed to be spread around the World, that would allow to gain control of the equipment and systems.

The Joint statement by Nato and above incidences are indicative of the fact that the cyber capabilities are enormous and are centric to the modern warfare tactics. Enemy can exploit the vulnerabilities and penetrate the critical infrastructure of the target country at a light speed. Same applies for the weapon and military systems. The war infrastructure can be brought to a standstill with a click of mouse. With every new breach, It is increasingly evident that the future warfare can be very devastating. Satellite’s communication controlling the civilian and military system can be blocked, Air transport can be turned into a guided weapon, hospitals, financial institutions, transport, technology processes etc can be adversely impacted to the detriment of target nations.

Denial of service attacks, hacker attacks, dissemination of disinformation and propaganda, participation of state- sponsored teams in political blogs, internet surveillance, are some of the new age Cyber capabilities.  These tactics are strategically decisive and used as a tool to control and influence adversary states and for changing people’s behaviour or beliefs in favour of certain pre decided objectives.

The $1.2 trillion, Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, recently passed by U.S. Senate, focus on Cybersecurity. Including cybersecurity in the infrastructure bill lays down the Government intent and priority for building a safeguard for US infrastructure against the Twenty First century threats, posed by digital risk and cyber warfare.  

 Bill empowers Department of Homeland Security by making a provision of $1 billion over four years to address cyber threats. Act intend to provide comprehensive cover to critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks. It covers water systems, electric grid, supporting enterprises impacted by cyberattacks, providing cyber cover to U.S. Department of Transportation programs, establishing strong

Cybersecurity is one of the key focus areas of Quad Partners. Quad will synergise for bolstering resilience against cyber threats. Quad Senior Cyber Group will be launched for driving improvement and strengthening co-operation in mitigating cyber risk.  The group will focus on building common standards for cyber related challenges and security, development of digital infrastructure, development of security software and building talents to meet the needs.  India stands to benefit from the Quad participation.

Future cyber complexities are going to increase and the stakes are enormous. It’s not just a standalone critical infrastructure but involves critical attributes of National Security. Any successful cyber breach will jeopardize the Nations secrets and security to the mercy of enemy.     

Bureau Galactik Views

Related articles