Cyberwarfare refers to politically motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage. It is a form of information warfare sometimes seen as analogous to conventional warfare although this analogy is controversial for both its accuracy and its political motivation.
U.S. government security expert Richard A. Clarke, in his book Cyber War (May 2010), defines "cyberwarfare" as "actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation's computers or networks for the purposes of causing damage or disruption." The Economist describes cyberspace as "the fifth domain of warfare," and William J. Lynn, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, states that "as a doctrinal matter, the Pentagon has formally recognized cyberspace as a new domain in warfare . . . [which] has become just as critical to military operations as land, sea, air, and space."
In February 2010, top American lawmakers warned that the "threat of a crippling attack on telecommunications and computer networks was sharply on the rise." According to The Lipman Report, numerous key sectors of the U.S. economy along with that of other nations, are currently at risk, including cyber threats to public and private facilities, banking and finance, transportation, manufacturing, medical, education and government, all of which are now dependent on computers for daily operations. In 2009, President Obama stated that "cyber intruders have probed our electrical grids."
The Economist writes that China has plans of "winning informationised wars by the mid-21st century". They note that other countries are likewise organizing for cyberwar, among them Russia, Israel and North Korea. Iran boasts of having the world's second-largest cyber-army. James Gosler, a government cybersecurity specialist, worries that the U.S. has a severe shortage of computer security specialists, estimating that there are only about 1,000 qualified people in the country today, but needs a force of 20,000 to 30,000 skilled experts. At the July 2010 Black Hat computer security conference, Michael Hayden, former deputy director of national intelligence, challenged thousands of attendees to help devise ways to "reshape the Internet's security architecture", explaining, "You guys made the cyberworld look like the north German plain.
Methods of attack
Cyberwarfare consists of many different threats:
- Espionage and national security breaches
Cyber espionage is the act or practice of obtaining secrets (sensitive, proprietary or classified information) from individuals, competitors, rivals, groups, governments and enemies also for military, political, or economic advantage using illegal exploitation methods on internet, networks, software and or computers. Classified information that is not handled securely can be intercepted and even modified, making espionage possible from the other side of the world. Specific attacks on the United States have been given codenames like Titan Rain and Moonlight Maze. General Alexander notes that the recently established Cyber Command is currently trying to determine whether such activities as commercial espionage or theft of intellectual property are criminal activities or actual "breaches of national security."
Computers and satellites that coordinate other activities are vulnerable components of a system and could lead to the disruption of equipment. Compromisation of military systems, such as C4ISTAR components that are responsible for orders and communications could lead to their interception or malicious replacement. Power, water, fuel, communications, and transportation infrastructure all may be vulnerable to disruption. According to Clarke, the civilian realm is also at risk, noting that the security breaches have already gone beyond stolen credit card numbers, and that potential targets can also include the electric power grid, trains, or the stock market.
In mid July 2010, security experts discovered a malicious software program called Stuxnet that had infiltrated factory computers and had spread to plants around the world. It is considered "the first attack on critical industrial infrastructure that sits at the foundation of modern economies," notes The New York Times.
- Denial-of-service attack
Main article: DoS
In computing, a denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. Perpetrators of DoS attacks typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers such as banks, credit card payment gateways, and even root nameservers.
- Electrical power grid
The federal government of the United States admits that the electric power transmission is susceptible to cyberwarfare. The United States Department of Homeland Security works with industry to identify vulnerabilities and to help industry enhance the security of control system networks, the federal government is also working to ensure that security is built in as the next generation of "smart grid" networks are developed. In April 2009, reports surfaced that China and Russia had infiltrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national security officials. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has issued a public notice that warns that the electrical grid is not adequately protected from cyber attack. China denies intruding into the U.S. electrical grid. One countermeasure would be to disconnect the power grid from the Internet and run the net with droop speed control only. Massive power outages caused by a cyber attack, could disrupt the economy, distract from a simultaneous military attack, or create a national trauma.
Howard Schmidt, Cyber-Security Coordinator of the US, commented on those possibilities:
It’s possible that hackers have gotten into administrative computer systems of utility companies, but says those aren’t linked to the equipment controlling the grid, at least not in developed countries. [Schmidt] has never heard that the grid itself has been hacked.
In the U.S., General Keith B. Alexander, first head of the recently formed USCYBERCOM, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that computer network warfare is evolving so rapidly that there is a "mismatch between our technical capabilities to conduct operations and the governing laws and policies. Cyber Command is the newest global combatant and its sole mission is cyberspace, outside the traditional battlefields of land, sea, air and space." It will attempt to find and, when necessary, neutralize cyberattacks and to defend military computer networks.
Alexander sketched out the broad battlefield envisioned for the computer warfare command, listing the kind of targets that his new headquarters could be ordered to attack, including "traditional battlefield prizes – command-and-control systems at military headquarters, air defense networks and weapons systems that require computers to operate."
One cyber warfare scenario, Cyber ShockWave, which was wargamed on the cabinet level by former administration officials, raised issues ranging from the National Guard to the power grid to the limits of statutory authority.
The distributed nature of internet based attacks means that it is difficult to determine motivation and attacking party, meaning that it is unclear when a specific act should be considered an act of war.
Other cyberwarfares caused from political motivations can be found worldwide. In 2008, Russia began a cyber attack to Georgian government website, which was carried out along with military operation in South Ossetia. In 2008, Chinese 'nationalist hackers' attacked CNN as CNN announced on Chinese repression on Tibet.
Potential targets in internet sabotage include all aspects of the Internet from the backbones of the web, to the Internet Service Providers, to the varying types of data communication mediums and network equipment. This would include: web servers, enterprise information systems, client server systems, communication links, network equipment, and the desktops and laptops in businesses and homes. Electrical grids and telecommunication systems are also deemed vulnerable, especially due to current trends in automation.
- Private sector
Computer hacking represents a modern threat in ongoing industrial espionage and as such is presumed to widely occur. It is typical that this type of crime is underreported. According to McAfee's George Kurtz, corporations around the world face millions of cyberattacks a day. "Most of these attacks don’t gain any media attention or lead to strong political statements by victims." This type of crime is usually financially motivated.
Cyberwarfare by country
The Internet security company McAfee stated in their 2007 annual report that approximately 120 countries have been developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon and target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities.
Cyber counter-intelligence are measures to identify, penetrate, or neutralize foreign operations that use cyber means as the primary tradecraft methodology, as well as foreign intelligence service collection efforts that use traditional methods to gauge cyber capabilities and intentions.
- On 7 April 2009, The Pentagon announced they spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems.
- On 1 April 2009, U.S. lawmakers pushed for the appointment of a White House cyber security "czar" to dramatically escalate U.S. defenses against cyber attacks, crafting proposals that would empower the government to set and enforce security standards for private industry for the first time.
- On 9 February 2009, the White House announced that it will conduct a review of the nation's cyber security to ensure that the Federal government of the United States cyber security initiatives are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated with the United States Congress and the private sector.
In the wake of the cyberwar of 2007 waged against Estonia, NATO established the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD CoE) in Tallinn, Estonia, in order to enhance the organization’s cyber defence capability. The center was formally established on 14 May 2008, and it received full accreditation by NATO and attained the status of International Military Organization on 28 October 2008. Since Estonia has led international efforts to fight cybercrime, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation says it will permanently base a computer crime expert in Estonia in 2009 to help fight international threats against computer systems.
One of the hardest issues in cyber counterintelligence is the problem of "Attribution". Unlike conventional warfare, figuring out who is behind an attack can be very difficult. However Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has claimed that the United States has the capability to trace attacks back to their sources and hold the attackers "accountable".
Howard Schmidt, an American cybersecurity expert, argued in March 2010 that "there is no cyberwar... I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible concept. There are no winners in that environment." Other experts, however, believe that this type of activity already constitutes a war. The warfare analogy is often seen intended to motivate a militaristic response when that is not necessarily appropriate. Ron Deibert, of Canada's Citizen Lab, has warned of a "militarization of cyberspace."
The European cybersecurity expert Sandro Gaycken argued for a middle position. He considers cyberwar from a legal perspective an unlikely scenario, due to the reasons lined out by Rid (and, before him, Sommer), but the situation looks different from a strategic point of view. States have to consider military-led cyber operations an attractive activity, within and without war, as they offer a large variety of cheap and risk-free options to weaken other countries and strengthen their own positions. Considered from a long-term, geostrategic perspective, cyber offensive operations can cripple whole economies, change political views, agitate conflicts within or among states, reduce their military efficiency and equalize the capacities of high-tech nations to that of low-tech nations, and use access to their critical infrastructures to blackmail them.
- On 21 November 2011, it was widely reported in the U.S. media that a hacker had destroyed a water pump at the Curran-Gardner Township Public Water District in Illinois. However, it later turned out that this information was not only false, but had been inappropriately leaked from the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center.
- On 6 October 2011, it was announced that Creech AFB's drone and Predator fleet's command and control data stream has been keylogged, resisting all attempts to reverse the exploit, for the past two weeks. The Air Force issued a statement that the virus had "posed no threat to our operational mission".
- In July 2011, the South Korean company SK Communications was hacked, resulting in the theft of the personal details (including names, phone numbers, home and email addresses and resident registration numbers) of up to 35 million people. A trojaned software update was used to gain access to the SK Communications network. Links exist between this hack and other malicious activity and it is believed to be part of a broader, concerted hacking effort.
- Operation Shady RAT is an ongoing series of cyber attacks starting mid-2006, reported by Internet security company McAfee in August 2011. The attacks have hit at least 72 organizations including governments and defense contractors.
- On 4 December 2010, a group calling itself the Pakistan Cyber Army hacked the website of India's top investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The National Informatics Center (NIC) has begun an inquiry.
- On 26 November 2010, a group calling itself the Indian Cyber Army hacked the websites belonging to the Pakistan Army and the others belong to different ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Pakistan Computer Bureau, Council of Islamic Ideology, etc. The attack was done as a revenge for the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
- In October 2010, Iain Lobban, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), said Britain faces a "real and credible" threat from cyber attacks by hostile states and criminals and government systems are targeted 1,000 times each month, such attacks threatened Britain’s economic future, and some countries were already using cyber assaults to put pressure on other nations.
- In September 2010, Iran was attacked by the Stuxnet worm, thought to specifically target its Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. The worm is said to be the most advanced piece of malware ever discovered and significantly increases the profile of cyberwarfare.
- In May 2010, In response to Indian Cyber Army defacing Pakistani websites, 1000+ Indian websites were defaced by PakHaxors, TeaMp0isoN, UrduHack & ZCompany Hacking Crew, among those were the Indian CID website, local government of Kerala, Box Office of Indian, Brahmos missile website, Indian HP helpdesk, Indian Institute of Science, and The Indian Directorate General of Shipping.
- In July 2009, there were a series of coordinated denial of service attacks against major government, news media, and financial websites in South Korea and the United States. While many thought the attack was directed by North Korea, one researcher traced the attacks to the United Kingdom.
- Russian, South Ossetian, Georgian and Azerbaijani sites were attacked by hackers during the 2008 South Ossetia War.
- In 2007 the website of the Kyrgyz Central Election Commission was defaced during its election. The message left on the website read "This site has been hacked by Dream of Estonian organization". During the election campaigns and riots preceding the election, there were cases of Denial-of-service attacks against the Kyrgyz ISPs.
- In September 2007, Israel carried out an airstrike on Syria dubbed Operation Orchard. U.S. industry and military sources speculated that the Israelis may have used cyberwarfare to allow their planes to pass undetected by radar into Syria.
- In April 2007, Estonia came under cyber attack in the wake of relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn. The largest part of the attacks were coming from Russia and from official servers of the authorities of Russia. In the attack, ministries, banks, and media were targeted.
- In the 2006 war against Hezbollah, Israel alleges that cyber-warfare was part of the conflict, where the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intelligence estimates several countries in the Middle East used Russian hackers and scientists to operate on their behalf. As a result, Israel attached growing importance to cyber-tactics, and became, along with the U.S., France and a couple of other nations, involved in cyber-war planning. Many international high-tech companies are now locating research and development operations in Israel, where local hires are often veterans of the IDF's elite computer units. Richard A. Clarke adds that "our Israeli friends have learned a thing or two from the programs we have been working on for more than two decades."
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (members include China and Russia) defines cyberwar to include dissemination of information "harmful to the spiritual, moral and cultural spheres of other states". In September 2011, these countries proposed to the UN Secretary General a document called "International code of conduct for information security". The approach was not endorsed by western countries as it entailed too many hints on political censorship of the internet.
In contrast, the United States' approach focuses on physical and economic damage and injury, putting political concerns under freedom of speech. This difference of opinion has led to reluctance in the West to pursue global cyber arms control agreements. However, American General Keith B. Alexander did endorse talks with Russia over a proposal to limit military attacks in cyberspace.
A Ukrainian professor of International Law, Alexander Merezhko, has developed a project called the International Convention on Prohibition of Cyberwar in Internet. According to this project, cyberwar is defined as the use of Internet and related technological means by one state against political, economic, technological and information sovereignty and independence of any other state. Professor Merezhko's project suggests that the Internet ought to remain free from warfare tactics and be treated as an international landmark. He states that the Internet (cyberspace) is a "common heritage of mankind."
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwarfare