Perfect Asymmetry

19th May 2017 in

Hackers either working for the Vietnamese government or on their behalf have broken into the computers of multinationals operating in the country as part of an increasingly sophisticated cyber espionage campaign, according to a security company called FireEye.

Cyber-criminals are frequently reported in the news for their attempts to gain access to valuable data to sell on the dark web. State sponsored cyber-criminality does not receive the same level of attention. There is a rising trend of state sponsored cyber warfare in all its varied forms: from the “troll farms” in Russia to the Chinese State Sponsored theft of foreign intellectual property and weapon designs. The lack of consistent and frequent reports on state sponsored attacks is explainable. It is difficult to prove that those responsible for the breach were state sponsored, and sometimes state actors themselves employ 3rd party hackers to do their dirty work.

It is amazing to see the variety of cyber warfare methods being employed. One particular if slightly disturbing example has been taking place in Ukraine. Russian military intelligence has been investigating their Ukrainian opposite numbers on social media and demoralising them by bombarding their social media with threats to friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

Asymmetric warfare is rapidly becoming a new front in modern warfare, with new and more interesting methods being developed. It would be prudent for governments to follow Russia and China’s suit to ensure that they are prepared to counter any attempts to undermine national security or the wellbeing of Britain’s troops. It is an old adage that we perfect the art of yesterday’s war. Britain must invest more into irregular and unconventional warfare techniques, as the ability to damage and hinder an opponent’s military capability remotely and anonymously is a serious threat.

 

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