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Living In The Age Of Cyber Attacks And Cyber Warfare

2381 words - 10 pages

Living in the Age of Cyber Attacks and Cyber Warfare

UMUC


If you asked the average person on the street about cybersecurity and cyber warfare, they would probably say they don’t know much about it other than the fact that it involves computers. In fact, for anyone outside of the cybersecurity industry, the closest thing to cyber warfare that they may have experienced was their viewing of the movie War Games, or the fourth installment of the Die Hard series, Live Free or Die Hard. While those movies had a profound impact on the lives of the characters in the script, the audience probably thought it was merely fiction, not fully based on fact. In Live Free or Die Hard, John McClain ...view middle of the document...

). Surprisingly, President Reagan’s advisors told him that it was definitely possible and that America’s adversaries already have a head start. However, from 1983 through 2008, policymakers have shied away from making significant strides in the creation of cyber war doctrine leading to an open playing field where anyone can play. It wasn’t until the release of the White House’s International Strategy for Cyberspace in 2009, did the United States realize that it needed to have an obvious presence in cyberspace to maintain a balance to world order within the virtual world. With cyber warfare literally having the ability to affect lives in a nanosecond, it is vital that everyone understand what cyber attacks entail, the impact of cyber warfare on a domestic and international scale, and knowing what to expect in the future while living in a world dominated by virtual experiences.
So what exactly does a cyber attack look like? Well Hollywood wasn’t that far off when they made War Games and Live Free or Die Hard. For anyone who knows what a hacker is, they will probably tell you that they envision a cyber attack coming from some geeky kid who doubles as a computer genius hacking into the servers of the Pentagon so that he can somehow manage to give himself an ‘A’ in high school English. While all this may sound implausible, it is most definitely a scenario that can happen. As I began my research, I knew that I needed to start with the basics and identify what exactly a cyber attack is. The only problem with that is that there are different definitions. According to the National Research Council commissioned by the U.S. to study cyber attacks, they defined the term as “deliberate actions to alter, disrupt, deceive, degrade, or destroy computer systems or networks or the information and/or programs resident in or transiting these systems or networks.” (Singer & Friedman 2014, pg68) Cyber attacks come in all different forms from a variety of sources, also known as actors in the cyber realm. The majority of cyber attacks can be categorized into five types of tactics: espionage, secretly and illegally copying vast quantities of computer data or network communications; propaganda, digital information that may or may not be true (simple purpose is to influence); denial-of-service, deny use of computer resources to legitimate users; data modification, legitimate users can make important information based on maliciously altered information; and infrastructure manipulation, infrastructure hardware is connected to the Internet and therefore susceptible to change. (Geers 2008, pg 3)
However, these cyber attacks are not limited to nation-states committing these crimes with government entities being the only target. These attacks occur from a wide range of actors who have malicious purposes. Cyber actors range from hacktivist groups--hackers that initiate cyber attacks to further their own causes or beliefs-- to the more serious state-sponsored hacking teams...

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