How Destructive is Cyber Warfare?

Throughout the course of human civilization, different types of technology have appeared that possess capabilities of causing great destruction. Whether we refer to swords and blades, or the gunpowder which was invented in the last century, all of the weapons of destruction have always been lethal with respect to the era in which they existed.

The truth is that every type of technology has its own cycle through which it gets developed. Only once it is developed, and often used for mayhem, do the efforts for their control come forward.

In a similar manner, today, another technology that is considered to be highly destructive have come forward. This includes the cyber warfare. You will be highly surprised how simple electronic transmissions that involve the use of zeros and ones can prove to be so lethal at large.

The term cyber warfare simply refers to using the computers in the context of a warfare. This may also involve the use of networks, and internet control systems. A cyber warfare may include both defensive operations in order to prevent a cyber attack, and offensive operations meant to cause a lot of damage.

Cyber warfare has inherently existed ever since the internet was invented. However, with everything going global, and having connections on common networks, cyber attacks today can lead to a lot of financial or other damage. In the cyber attacks, the prime aim of one party which mostly happens to be one nation is to cause a disruption in the activities of key organizations that exist in the rival state such as the military.

There are a number of forms that a cyber warfare can take. These include forwarding computer worms, and viruses that have the capability of disrupting the water supply system, power grids, critical infrastructure, military systems, and transportation systems. Just imagine the amount of havoc that would create.

Similarly, cyber warfare also includes denial of service (DoS) attacks which prevents legit users from gaining access to their computer systems.

In case an attack on the critical infrastructure of the country ends up being successful, the country may experience a lot of havoc. For instance, there could be a nation wide power outage or flooding by opening dams in case access to the hydropower grids is obtained.

One example of highly destructive cyber attack is the Stuxnet worm. This was a computer virus developed with the aim of attacking the nuclear program of Iran back in 2010. While both the USA and Israel have been blamed for this attack, none of them have ever accepted the responsibility.

Similarly, Russia has been alleged to perpetuate a DoS (Denial of Service) attack on Ukraine which caused a disruption in the internet. This ultimately allows the pro-russian rebels to gain control over the Crimea region.

Considering all of the above mentioned possibilities, it is highly obvious that a cyberwarfare can be very destructive. This is especially true if access is gained to military systems containing classified information, nuclear programs, or the critical infrastructure.

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