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Modern warfare: cyber-attack on critical infrastructure and supply chains

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Recent happenings and the dynamism of the technological world have necessitated certain inventions and some innovations purposed to make life simple and easy in a rather complex and complicated world.

Security at the very centre of these innovations is the reason why there is some sanity in the ecosystem. The importance of security transcends protection for consumers to saving and maximising profits for businesses that truly understand the importance of security.

In today’s digital age, coordinated cyber-attacks have become a major threat to national security and global stability. With increasing reliance on these technological inventions and innovations in nearly every aspect of life, the potential for cyber-attacks to disrupt critical infrastructure and steal sensitive information has never been greater. Across the world, there is growing concern over the possibility of a future world war with hackers at centre-stage playing a very significant role.

With the Russia-Ukraine war as a reference, we can all recall how the Hacker community rallied behind Ukraine to execute a cyber-attack on Russia. In the first month of the attack, more than 600 online resources – including the federal postal service, pension fund, online banking and video conference platforms – in Russia were greatly affected. Taking a cue from Mykhailo Fedorov, the Minister of Digital Transformation-Ukraine, told ABC News: “Cyberspace is a frontline of the 21st century, and victories there are as important as on actual battlefields”.

One of the most significant aspects of cyber-attacks as modern warfare is their ability to disrupt critical infrastructure and the entire supply chain. This includes systems that are vital to the functioning of society such as power grids, transportation systems and communication networks. A well-coordinated cyber-attack on these systems could cause widespread disruption and chaos, potentially leading to loss of life and significant economic damage.

Another aspect of cyber-attacks as modern warfare is their ability to steal sensitive information. This includes information that is vital to national security; such as classified government documents and military plans, as well as information that is valuable to businesses and individuals such as financial data and personal information.

A successful cyber-attack on a company’s network can result in the loss of trade secrets and valuable intellectual property, while a successful attack on an individual’s computer can result in identity-theft and financial fraud.

According to the 2022 Microsoft Digital Defence Report, the number of cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure by nation-state groups has doubled in the past year. The report states that during the time period of July 2021 to June 2022, 40 percent of total cyber-attacks targetted companies in the IT, financial services, transportation and communications sectors, compared to only 20 percent in the previous 12 months.

There are many different types of cyber-attacks that can be used as modern warfare. Some of the most common include:

  1. Phishing: This is a type of social engineering attack whereby the attacker sends an email or message that appears to be from a legitimate source, in an attempt to trick the recipient into providing sensitive information or clicking on a link that will install malware on their computer.
  2. Malware: This is a type of software that is designed to cause harm to a computer or network. It can take the form of viruses, worms, Trojan-horses and other forms of malicious software.
  3. Denial of Service (DoS) attacks: This type of attack involves overwhelming a website or network with traffic, thus making it unavailable to legitimate users.
  4. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): This type of attack is typically carried out by state-sponsored hackers and is characterised by its long-term, targetted nature. The attacker will typically gain access to a network or system and maintain a presence there for an extended period, stealing sensitive information and potentially causing damage over time.

Preventing and responding to cyber-attacks as modern warfare requires a multi-faceted approach. This includes:

  1. Education: It’s important for individuals and organisations to be aware of the threats that exist and the steps that can be taken to protect against them. This includes understanding the basics of cyber-security, such as how to avoid phishing scams and how to keep software up to date.
  2. Network security: This includes implementing firewalls, intrusion detection systems and other security measures to protect networks and systems from attack.
  3. Incident response: It’s important for organisations to have a plan in place for responding to a cyber-attack, including procedures for containing the attack and restoring normal operations.

In conclusion, cyber-attacks have become a form of modern warfare with the potential to disrupt critical infrastructure and steal sensitive information. It’s important for individuals and organisations to be aware of the threats that exist and take steps to protect against them. This includes understanding the basics of cyber-security, implementing network security measures, and having a plan in place for responding to a cyber-attack. By being proactive and taking a multi-faceted approach to cyber-security, it’s possible to minimise the impact of cyber-attacks and protect against future ones.

>>>the writer provides Cyber-security, Digital forensics, Forensic Investigation and Audit, and is an excellent researcher in the field of Information communication and technology. He can be reached on 0279489127



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