On the Cover
Cyber war moves beyond theory
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 00:00
Written by Jacqueline Lües
The threat of cyber war has moved beyond theory, and the possibility of catastrophic attacks is now a possibility, said NCIS cyber subject matter expert Dr Kenneth Geers.
Dr Geers noted that proof of concept attacks have taken place in which infrastructures have succumbed to attack. “In fact, we now see that malicious code alone can inflict physical damage to infrastructure,” he said.
“Some of the fears have yet to be realised, but it doesn’t mean they are not possible. The vulnerabilities are there and the connectivity is there. And for hackers, the whole world is somehow connected now. Even theoretically closed networks can be exploited.”
War is not the only motivation for an attack on a government or its infrastructures. Geers pointed out that a recent survey of hackers found that some do it for political or patriotic reasons, but others do it simply to prove they can, or ‘just for fun’.
The potential also exists for cyber attacks to form part of a physical attack too – for example, shutting down defence systems in order to launch a physical attack.
“Cyber will no doubt also play a role in a larger effort in wars of the future,” said Geers.
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