A Brief Analysis of the Cyber Security Threat

A Brief Analysis of the Cyber Security Threat

A definition of cyber security Cyber security can be broadly described as protecting personal/business or government digital assets from cyber attack from individuals, organised criminals or foreign governments. Cyber security encompasses three threat vectors; cyber warfare; cyber terrorism and cyber attacks. Each of these threat vectors’will need to be addressed by a country’s citizens, its businesses (private and public) and national and local governments (including a nation-states armed forces).
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Did you know? A country’s digital infrastructure is often referred to as its strategic national asset. The major problem facing most nation-states (particularly in the West) is the lack of a central body to co-ordinate and implement military and corporate/ government cyber security strategies. There is also a growing reliance in the West to transfer important assets (and security) ownership from the public sector to the private sector which in itself opens up a new security risk (see later sections). The cyber security threat vectors and domains of war Before we discuss the cyber warfare threat, it’s worth briefly highlighting the cyber security threat areas again:

  •  Cyber warfare
  • Cyber terrorism
  • Cyber attacks (organised crime) Cyber warfare Cyber warfare can be defined as part of four other defence components – one being air, sea, land and space. It is in these areas that cyber warfare has emerged as the fifth domain of warfare. Cyber warfare involves one nation-state attacking another by using digital attack code to bring about a nation-state infrastructure collapse. The collapse will target the energy system i.e. gas, electricity and oil for example as well as the financial hubs. This can be achieved by using DDOS, Trojans, malware or the use of logic bombs and trap doors in source code for example* Did you know? Outsourcing software development to foreign nationstates increases the risk of cyber attack. Cyber terrorism Cyber terrorism uses Internet based attacks which are related to terrorist activities – this might include DDOS attacks on government networks and or looking to steal individual personal information to commit fraud (this is used to raise funds for the terrorists to commit their terrorist acts). Cyber attacks Cyber attacks usually involve an organised criminal gang who target individual and networked computers to extract personal and business information to commit financial fraud. Cyber attack vectors The following cyber attack vectors is what China or Russia (for example) might (and already) use in the event of hostilities. These two countries and many countries from the West also have offensive cyber capabilities – in other words the ability to steal or inflict digital assets damage on another nation-state. Most Western countries which include the US, France, Germany and the UK have the ability to wage cyber warfare. Now let us take a look at the cyber attack vectors. Cyber Espionage – the network threat Espionage isn’t something new, and neither is cyber espionage. Some of the most sophisticated cyber espionage networks reside in Russia and China. Cyber espionage normally involves stealing secret (and or classified) documents from other nation-state governments, individuals, military establishments, rivals, enemies and businesses. Cyber warrior units (that are run by nation-states) which are closely tied to private hacker groups are normally responsible for developing cracking techniques to develop sophisticated malware, Trojans, backdoor traps and logic bombs to gain unauthorised access to a foreign network and or server.

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