Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Fears Grow That Cyber Chaos Will Spark Wars As Hack Attacks Become More Aggressive; Cyber Attacks an Expected Element of Military Strategy as Russia Deploys on the Ukraine Border

AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File
Fears grow that cyber chaos will spark wars as hack attacks become more aggressive:
The nightmare of America under cyberattack is happening now and it is not going to stop anytime soon. Foreign adversaries and criminal gangsters alike are hammering all aspects of society from hospitals to schools to government offices.
In December alone, a ransomware attack on human resources software disrupted operations for some hospitals operated by Ascension Healthcare, the timekeeping system of New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, and the government of Prince George’s County in Maryland, among others.
That ransomware attack was far from December’s worst events, however, as private cybersecurity companies said they saw hackers backed by China, Iran and other countries exploiting a widely used piece of software, the open-source logging platform Apache Log4j.
People have warned of a Pearl Harbor- and 9/11-style cyberattack for decades, but the U.S. has thus far avoided suffering a major surprise attack that costs lives and spread to other realms of society. But considering what happens if a cyberattack causes a war to break out is something professionals in business and government have prepared for.
“I hate to say it, I do think about it, it’s a pretty scary thing, [and] I hope that we never experience a cyberattack that’s considered a declaration of war,” said Charles Carmakal, senior vice president at cybersecurity firm Mandiant. “And I don’t know that we have in the United States, I don’t know that I’ve seen anything that I would say should have been declared as an act of war, but there have been some situations in general, in other parts of the world that have been declared acts of war.”
Mr. Carmakal pointed to a 2017 cyberattack, NotPetya, by Russia against Ukraine as the sort of thing that would be considered an act of war in the U.S. The NotPetya attack leveraged accounting software to infect computers in Ukraine and wreck networks that ultimately did $10 billion of damage globally, according to the Brookings Institution. READ MORE HERE
Cyber Attacks an Expected Element of Military Strategy as Russia Deploys on the Ukraine Border:
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to border tensions, but United States and British intelligence think that coordinated cyber attacks are a much more likely opening move than a physical incursion.
The New York Times reports that the US and UK have dispatched cyber warfare advisors to Ukraine to prepare for potential attacks. The prospect is not unprecedented, as Russia disabled Ukrainian power stations the last time tensions between the two countries escalated.
Experts expect salvo of cyber attacks from Russia
Russian hackers have previously turned the lights off in Ukraine (in both 2015 and 2016) as part of the long-running conflict between the two nations. While Russia has moved some 175,000 troops to the border in a recent escalation, the most likely opening of hostilities would be a similar wave of cyber attacks.
American intelligence agencies believe that the strategy is more than just simple harassment. Outages of essential services, such as utilities and banking, could be used by Russia to delegitimize the Ukraine government and potentially provide a cover story for an invasion. The current conflict is tied to the formation of a separatist group that wants to see Ukraine abandon its Western alliances and align with Russia’s political interests.
While Russia has consistently engaged in some amount of cyber attacks against Ukraine in recent years, American officials say that efforts have ramped up since the beginning of December with an active campaign against assorted Ukraine government agencies along with the electrical grid. --->READ MORE HERE
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