United States: The first country to publicly expose the “fangs” of cyber warfare — Shahrukh A. Siddiqui

On June 20, the US military “Global Hawk” drone was shot down by the Iranian military on the Iranian side of the Strait of Hormuz. On the 21st, Trump and his national security team struggled for a day, and in the evening they decided to retaliate against Iranian military targets. At the last moment, President Trump stopped military operations, and a bloody conflict passed by. Trump gave many reasons and made several countermeasures. The U.S. government publicly admitted for the first time, after which the U.S. military carried out cyber attacks on Iranian military targets. The Iranian side reported that the above-mentioned attacks did not achieve the intended purpose. The United States revealed that in recent days, there has been a significant increase in cyber attacks from Iraq against the United States. The targets are not only the US military but also US infrastructure.

This should be the first time in history that a government has admitted to launching a cyber attack on another country. Although limited to military purposes, these actions remind people that the true meaning of cyber warfare in human history may be at hand. If the United States does not effectively suppress Iran and Iran continues to show its firmness to the United States, in order to avoid bloodshed and sacrifice, the United States may escalate its cyber attacks on Iran, and Iran will not be arrested. Looking now, both sides have the ability to initiate cyber warfare, and the United States has been preparing for this for many years. It just depends on whether the political leaders of both sides have the determination and will to launch a cyber war.
With the popularization and development of information technology, cyberspace has become another battlefield space besides land, sea, sky, and outer space. American scholars stated that “the control of the Internet in the 21st century is of the same decisive significance as the control of the sea in the 19th century and the control of the air in the 20th century.” Only more than half a century of the Internet has been expanding globally at an extraordinary speed, becoming a political and economic carrier. , Military, diplomatic, and cultural dissemination space. In reality, cyber attacks include both national level, such as offensive and defensive operations organized by the military, as well as personal attacks. It can be a simple hacking attack or a long-term, large-scale attack initiated by the state for strategic purposes. Paralysis of infrastructure.

There is no clear definition of cyber attacks. They generally refer to unauthorized penetration of computers or networks, manifested in tampering, denial of service, and data theft. At present, the international community has no treaties or agreements restricting cyber offense and defense, which makes cyberspace an area that hegemonic countries strive to control. In 2006, the US Army’s “Joint Information Operations Doctrine” stated that “due to the continuous expansion of radio networking and the integration of computer radio frequency communications, there is no clear boundary between the capabilities of computer network warfare and electronic warfare operations.”
Information technology mainly emerged in the United States. In 1988, the United States experienced the first computer virus intrusion into the computer system of the University of California, and the computer system of the school was paralyzed. In January 2009, a terminal of the French Navy’s computer system was invaded by a virus and spread to the entire network. All fighters of the French Navy “cannot download combat commands” and the aircraft was grounded for two days. Since 2010, discussions about cyber warfare in the United States have heated up. Lin En, then Deputy Minister of National Defense, wrote an article in the “Foreign Affairs” magazine that the Ministry of National Defense has begun to protect the system’s own “strong defense system”, and the pace of war in cyberspace is accelerating.
In recent years. The US military has established a complete military capability for cyber warfare. The US Cyber ​​Warfare Command was established in May 2010 at the Air Force Base in Barksdale. A unit specializing in cyber offensive and defensive operations was officially organized. The Ministry of National Defense and various services publish cyber warfare operations regulations and other documents. For the US military, there are two capabilities in cyber warfare: the first is battlefield cyber warfare, which links all combat units together through the construction of informationized battlefields. At the same time, it attacks the enemy’s network system, making its government and military orders unclear. To be beaten. The second is a full-scale cyber warfare, which involves cyber attacks on the entire social system, paralyzing the opponent’s transportation, banking, aviation, and water and electricity systems, causing social unrest and forcing the downfall of the enemy government. This kind of attack can destroy the opponent’s resistance and achieve strategic goals without a single shot.
Network attacks happen from time to time. In April 2007, Estonia decided to move the monumental bronze statue of the Soviet Army in Tallinn into the Soviet cemetery. This caused opposition from the local Russian people and caused large-scale riots, which led to strong protests from the Russian government and tensions between the two sides. From the evening of April 26, the Estonian government website was attacked. The attack lasted until May 18. Despite the help of NATO cyber experts, there is nothing that can be done. The Minister of Defense of Estonia later said at an international conference, “This is a third world war that has not been noticed.” The source of the attack was unanimously believed to be from Russia.
During the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, almost all servers in the Georgian network system were frozen, and Georgia’s Internet services such as transportation, communications, and finance were paralyzed. On the battlefield, the Georgian army could not receive orders from higher authorities, and the higher authorities could not obtain progress on the battlefield. Russia moved freely, quickly occupied relevant points, and achieved war goals with very low casualties. It is believed that this is also the result of the Russian army’s use of cyber attacks. But the Russian army has never admitted to using cyber attacks in the war.

The popularization and proliferation of information technology allows people to see new battlefield space. For the first time, the Trump administration publicly acknowledged the use of cyber warfare weapons to attack Iraqi military targets, regardless of the effect, marking the beginning of an era when cyber warfare has officially embarked on the stage of human warfare. Although the United States and Iran are currently maintaining restraint, once the two sides exhaust their pressure and counter-pressure methods, the use of cyber warfare may become the choice of decision makers in both countries.

Originally published at https://shahrukhathar.info on August 6, 2020.

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Shah Rukh Athar Siddiqui

Shah Rukh Athar Siddiqui

https://shahrukhathar.info/about

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