Home > Cyber Intelligence & Terrorism Research, International Relations > CYBERSPACE: THE FUTURE OF BATTLEFIELDS AND WARS

CYBERSPACE: THE FUTURE OF BATTLEFIELDS AND WARS

By Joseph Lerner
(Political Analyst)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

After the recent Cyberattacks that have targeted the Lockheed Martin, Google, Sony, Nintendo’s database, and the US Government and Military Websites and Canadian government’s Websites the reality of how the modern wars are fought is changed. NATO has been dragged into a new battlefield that it was aware of, but hardly imagined that such an era would arrive so soon. Here and now, there are urgent needs to adopt a new paradigm when developing our new strategies and tactics as NATO allies, when it comes to the future of Modern Warfare that its main battlefield is the Cyberspace.

In the past, we fought on the sky, grounds, mountains, deserts, sea and oceans. This is changed. In the past, we knew who the enemy is, where the enemy comes from or how the enemy looks like. When engaged in any combat mission we were able to physically identify and see the enemy. These equations are no longer valid in Cyber Warfare.

In Cyber Warfare one often cannot see, sense, hear or know when the enemy attacks. The enemies are often unknown. The attacks always have the element of surprise. The Cyber Assault strategies, tactics and methods, as well as the Cyber Assaults’ patterns of behaviour tend to constantly change. All these elements make the Cyber Warfare new uncharted territories to be meticulously studied and learned about in great details.

Often by the time that the intrusion or attack is identified the damage is already done. In these cases, all we could do is: containing the damage that is already done and preventing it from spreading to a wider area. As NATO allies we are no longer in a position to take our time and reflect on various thoughts and strategies then develop countermeasures. This is a fact: we have already been attacked. The only pragmatic and sound strategy is: developing new multidimensional and multilayered Cyber Defense and Cyber Offence Strategies and Systems.

“Along with the rest of the U.S. government, the Department of Defense (DoD) depends on cyberspace to function. It is difficult to overstate this reliance; DoD operates over 15,000 networks and seven million computing devices across hundreds of installations in dozens of countries around the globe. DoD uses cyberspace to enable its military, intelligence, and business operations, including the movement of personnel and material and the command and control of the full spectrum of military operations.” Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, print July 2011. Link for downloading the complete document: http://1.usa.gov/rkg46T

According to the Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, the US cannot afford any form of Cyber-Defense vulnerability by any possible means. Therefore, it will not be surprising to witness that the future battles are fought behind the computer monitors and through our Cyber Operatives laptops.

The future War Rooms in Pentagon and NATO Command Centres will look much differently and highly advanced than today. A considerable portion of the NATO’s battle strategies are going to be developed by the Generals and Commanding Officers who are highly gifted computer scientists and Cyber Security experts. The future wars are multilayered and fought in the land, sea, sky, streets, deserts, mountains and Cyberspace. If Sir Winston Churchill was alive today he would have said, “…we shall fight our enemies on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength on the Air…. and we shall fight them in Cyberspace… We shall never surrender….”

“Cyberwar declared as China hunts for the West’s intelligence secrets. Urgent warnings have been circulated throughout NATO and the European Union for secret intelligence material to be protected from a recent surge in cyberwar attacks originating in China. The attacks have also hit government and military institutions in the United States, where analysts said that the West had no effective response and that EU systems were especially vulnerable because most cyber security efforts were left to member states.” The Sunday Times, link: http://bit.ly/af3Qa1

It is unknown that how much intelligence the Chinese hackers have acquired through these recent Cyberattacks. The extent of loss of intelligence is unknown. This makes the whole issue more complex, since here and now there is not much to work with when it comes to threat assessment and developing countermeasures. Therefore, we have to start upgrading our Cyber Security Systems, implementing new security measures and new Cyber Command Centres for our NATO Forces to prevent the hackers from putting our men and women in uniform and nations in danger. For this reason one of the NATO’s priorities needs to be: coming up with a solid and extraordinary Cyber Defense Technology to prevent our combat and peace keeping missions in the world from being jeopardized.

The least damage that one could think of after each Cyberattack is: the astronomical costs of repairing, upgrading, redeveloping and restructuring our entire computer and Cyber Security Systems, especially during these challenging economic times. McAfee in its 2009 published Cyber threat-analysis states “The Threat Is Real”

“Critical infrastructure owners and operators report that their networks and control systems are under repeated cyberattack, often from high-level adversaries like foreign nation-states. Assaults run the gamut from massive DDOS attacks designed to shut down systems all the way to stealthy efforts to enter networks undetected.” Stewart Baker, CSIS; partner, Steptoe & Johnson, In the Crossfire, Critical Infrastructure in the Age of Cyber War, A global report on the threats facing key industries, McAfee Print 2009. Link for downloading the complete document: http://linkd.in/nkpzDM

It is imperative to realize that we as NATO allies indubitably need to focus on developing extraordinary and formidable Cyber Defense Technology to protect our entire critical infrastructures such as power plants, power-grids, telecommunication networks, financial institutions, military infrastructure, governments’ databases, etc. If any intruder could possibly bypass our Cyber Security Systems, hack into any of our key infrastructures, then the consequences could be devastating.

The science and art of Cyber Security and Cyber Defense are constantly changing and growing areas of focus. This makes it extremely hard to even come up with the cost estimation of the National Defense budget that it needs to be dedicated for upgrading and maintain our Cyber Security Systems, as well as keeping our Cyber Defence experts up to date. Each time that a new technology is introduced and new techniques are developed our invisible Cyber Enemies get smarter and learn how to develop countermeasures.

To win the Cyber Warfare we need to take the ability of our enemies away, when it comes to our enemies’ being able to technologically mutate in timely fashion and learn our ways, as well as taking away the enemies’ ability of resiliency.

“The demand for new cyber personnel is high, commensurate with the severity of cyber threats. DoD must make itself competitive if it is to attract technically skilled personnel to join government service for the long-term. To achieve its objectives, DoD will focus on the establishment of dynamic programs to attract talent early, and the Department will leverage the 2010 Presidential Initiative to improve federal recruitment and hiring processes.” Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, print July 2011. Link for downloading the complete document: http://1.usa.gov/rkg46T

When it comes to developing the ballistic missile technology we could say, hypothetically speaking, NATO has reached an advance balletic missile technology, and our missiles could travel 2700 miles carrying warheads that make an X amount of impact with precision. Then for the next ten years we would keep only fine tuning our existing ballistic missile technology. Then after ten years we could upgrade them to be used for another decade until such a ballistic missile technology needs to go out of circulation. However, such paradigm, methods or theories do not apply to Cyber Security and Cyber Defense Technologies. Whenever we do any form of hardware upgrade, then the next year we are in need of another major upgrade.

Even if we as NATO allies reach a point that we could confidently say that our Cyber Defense Systems’ hardware technology is good enough, then we will still remain under threat when it comes to the skills and human resources that our enemies have in their disposal. This reminds me of the famous phrase by Joseph Stalin: “human resources decide everything” (Kadry Reshayut Vsyo). The most important part of Defense spending of NATO indubitably needs to be more focused on recruiting the highly gifted Cyber Security and Cyber Defense experts who are able to immediately identify each single possible threat through their ingenuity, and spontaneously develop countermeasures for it, both in terms of defense and offence as deterrent.

The modern world of Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare requires a total shift of paradigm. The old ways of strategic thinking no longer apply today in our modern time. The kinds of Cyberattacks that we are witnessing today only existed in the science fiction stories and movies a decade ago. The Cyberattacks regardless of what country or entity benefits from them, could be initiated from anywhere in this world. This calls for new alliances and NATO partnerships when it comes to developing and establishing our new Cyber Security System and Cyber Warfare Technology.

“With terrorists increasingly resorting to hacking and using internet for communications, India and the US Tuesday inked an agreement to promote increased collaboration in cyber security. The memorandum of understanding on cyber security was signed by R. Chandrashekhar, secretary, India Department of Information Technology, and Jane Holl Lute, deputy secretary for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agreement entails closer cooperation and the timely exchange of information on cyber security.” India, US ink an agreement on cyber security, The Economic Times, July 2011, online source: http://bit.ly/nQvWEu

The agreement between the US and India that its focus is to promote increased collaboration in Cyber Security is probably one of the most important events in our century, when it comes to international relations and defense collaboration. This is because of the following facts:

a) India is a democracy that respects Human Rights and free-market

b) India is a member of Commonwealth

c) Indians are fluent in English

d) India suffers from the same terrorist threats as NATO countries do

e) India produces some of the most gifted Cyberspace experts

f) India benefits from highly complex infrastructure that is already fibre-optic ready

g) India is China’s neighbour and has a greater population than China

h) India has a very important strategic position in the region. Map: http://1.usa.gov/oYmT3X

All these elements not only make India the NATO’s closest friend and best partner in our war on terror, but also India is one of our most important partners in developing and maintaining our global Cyber Security Systems. India is the future rising economic power in the region that shares the same democratic values as we do as NATO allies in our free world.

Our success in preventing the future Cyberattacks not only is going to depend on our ability to have an extraordinary defense technology and system in place, but also depends on how great we are in identifying the threats and their sources, then launching the proper offensive counterattacks that could bring down the intruders’ and abusers’ systems. This way not only we could benefit from having a great state of the art Cyber Security technology, but also we as NATO allies will have a great Cyber Warfare Technology as deterrent in place. For this reason we need to adopt new ways of thinking when it comes to developing our Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare policies, as well as when it comes to allocating funds for our Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare industries.

The cost of Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare technologies and maintaining them are extremely high. This is because of the fact that these industries always depend on highly gifted experts. These are the industries that will create the future brain drain in the world as it already has. Therefore, the common methods of dedicating a fixed annual budget for Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare industries are no longer feasible or pragmatic. We need to have a financial system and policies in place so that as new threats and challenges occur, we will be able to immediately allocate funds to respond to these challenges and threats spontaneously. Furthermore, it is imperative to realize that allocating funds to cover the costs of the NATO’s Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare Technologies are indubitably the most important priority to focus on when it comes to protecting our nations, economy and interests in the world.

“US Government and Military Websites Redirected to Chinese Servers: The report says telecommunications companies in China disrupted the Internet for only about 18 minutes — but they were a big 18 minutes. They “hijacked” about 15 percent of the world’s online traffic, affecting NASA, the U.S. Senate, the four branches of the military and the office of the Secretary of Defense.”  Jason Ryan, ABC News, Technology, Washington, Nov. 17, 2010, online source: http://abcn.ws/9XWRbm 

The time frame of the Cyberattack that is indicated in this report was about 18 minutes. The speed of identifying and responding to any Cyber-threat is often within seconds and minuets. This is the speed that we are talking about when it comes to Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare. These issues present the very fine lines that the future policy makers, security and defence experts are going to need to deal with and address. For this reason NATO needs a new shift of paradigm when it comes to its future Cyber Security and Cyber Warfare strategies, legal and technological structures to properly address these issues.
Joseph Lerner is a Canadian political analyst specializing in Homeland Security and geopolitics. He regularly writes about National Security, Counter-Terrorism, immigration and security challenges. Lerner has served as the Campaign Strategist for the Conservative Party of Canada WD in Canada’s 2011 Federal Election running a successful War Room.  In 2007, he held the position of Communication Analyst and Strategist in the Ontario’s Provincial Election. Lerner is the former Vice President of Conservative Party of Canada, WD EDA. He has served as the Chair of Policy Review and Fundraising Committees. Website: http://www.ideasthatshape.com

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