Cyberwar Begins New Arms Race

Cyberwar Begins New Arms Race

Per The Register, security guru Bruce Schneier believes we are in the early years of a cyberwar arms race. Schneier is the CTO of Resilient Systems and spoke at the Infosecurity Europe exhibition back in June. In a report by The Wall Street Journal, it is estimated that at least 29 countries have formal military or intelligence units dedicated to offensive hacking efforts with the United States being among the most advanced operations.

At the end of September 2015, the United States and China will no longer support cyberespionage that results in the theft of trade secrets or confidential business information (International Business Times). President Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jingping met at the White House to discuss cybersecurity issues. “The question now is, are words followed by actions,” Obama said, in a news conference Friday. “We will be watching carefully to make an assessment on whether progress has been made in this area.”

A few weeks before the two Presidents met with each other, President Obama had repeatedly blasted China for its alleged cyberattacks, and warned of U.S. entering “a race to weaponize the Internet,” according to Huffington Post. There have been many accusations of cyberespionage and theft leveled at China by the U.S. government.
Tech Crunch points out that China isn’t the only cyber-enemy that the United States is dealing with. The U.S. also has threats coming from Russia and North Korea.

Our Analysis

Numerous countries have spent billions of dollars to have the opportunity to possess nuclear weapons. This could all change if more countries shift their focus to obtaining the tools to create cyberweapons. Cyberweapons are cheaper and easier to obtain then their nuclear counterparts. Countries will stockpile malicious code and develop it to benefit their needs. According to The Wall Street Journal, Governments have used computer attacks to mine and steal information, erase computers, disable bank networks and—in one extreme case—destroy nuclear centrifuges.

This could lead to widespread panic from governments down to small businesses offering a simple service. Phishing and Denial of Service (DOS) are two common types of attacks that could be utilized during cyberwarfare. Phishing is believed to have been used during the breach of U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Per The Wall Street Journal, the top four countries who threaten the U.S. the most are:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Iran
  • North Korea

Cyberweapons will not see just a few countries leading the pack. This could lead to multiple countries joining forces to share code and help with attacks, while seeing other countries combining to fight off attacks. This is something that could last decades unless some type of unlikely pact is reach between rivaling nations. We have already seen examples of cyberware with the attacks of Sony Corporation. Emails were leaked and files were destroyed. This attack was allegedly completed by North Korea in retaliation for continuing as planned to release the movie “The Interview.” This successful attack could lead others to cyberattacks to threaten, punish or retaliate against others.

Similar Stories:

Government Backdoors a Threat to Security?
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Nuclear Facilities at Risk of Cyber Attack
Chines and US Cyber Relations Remain Cold at Best
The Cyber Security Landscape Today

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International Business Times
Huffington Post
Tech Crunch
The Register
The Wall Street Journal

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About Scott Entsminger

Scott Entsminger was born and raised in Virginia. He graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. Scott has worked for the Department of Defense since graduating college. He is an expert in Windows Administration; with specific experience in Group Policy and vulnerability remediation. He also has specific experience in Information Assurance (IA) and Cyber Security. Scott holds the CompTIA Security+ certification. He is always looking to diversify his skillset. Scott is an avid sports fan, particularly baseball. He also is an avid gamer and enjoys learning different skills involving his PC.