Growing up, at least when I started high school, I do remember the remnants of the Cold War. I just remember it being an extremely tense time, with Reagan calling the former Soviet Union the “the focus of evil in the modern world”, and the deployment of the Pershing II missiles in Europe.
I was actually a member of the “World Affairs Discussion Group”, and about once or twice a week, we had actually met after school to talk about these issues, and what our thoughts on resolving them.
Of course, we were just 15 year old kids back then, so how much could we actually propose to Reagan? LOL. But anyways, these memories are there. Then I remember when I started Purdue, GHW Bush then was President, and all the talk was about the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the dismantling of the large amounts of nuclear weapons on either side.
But now today, we face an entirely new brand of evil: That of the Cyber attacker. This type of person or group, as I had mentioned yesterday, knows no geographic bounds or limits to the extent of the damage that they want to create.
For example, they can hack into our personal financial accounts, and literally rob us blind. Or, they can launch Identity Theft attacks and we won’t even realize that we have become a victim until literally years later.
The worst part of this is that unlike the Cold War, we cannot even see our enemy face to face. In a news headline I came across this morning (it was more like an op ed), I read a piece where the author has called for radical actions the Cyber attacker, or terrorist, or group, or whatever you want to call them. He had written in length as to how we should counter attack.
He cites various examples where sanctions and even negotiations have failed to work. Probably some of the best known examples are that of Russia, North Korea, Iran and China. With regards to the former, despite Putin’s talk of its efforts of reducing Cyber terrorism, top level researchers at Microsoft have found that instead, they are instead trying to infiltrate the computer network systems of numerous mid term election campaigns. Also, it has been reported that they are even trying to go after U.S. power-plant control rooms.
People are questioning if Putin is just trying to make staunchy threats, or does he really intend to do what he means? He clearly demonstrated this in the Ukraine back in 2016.
With regards to China, many government officials believe that they are undermining the efforts that were made by the Obama Administration in a promise not to engage in any form of Cyber terrorism against the United States.
In terms of North Korea, their Cyber terrorist activities are growing, and in fact are getting better. It has been reported that they are even moving their hackers physically to China, where of course, the Internet access and connectivity is much better.
Finally according to the Cyber security firm known as FireEye, they have evidence to prove that Iran probably the most active out of all of these other countries with regards to Cyber attack based activities.
The author even goes on to say that the United States has all of the capability in the world to counter attack these Cyber terrorists – with the Cyber warfare artillery that we have of our own. But, we are too afraid to engage in a so called “eye for an eye” or a “tit for tat” exchange because we are way too much dependent upon our existing computer networks. It is greatly feared that any reprisal from one of the countries just mentioned could greatly cripple our IT Infrastructure.
This quote best sums it up: “As Army Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone said during his confirmation hearing in March to be the nation’s top cyberwarrior, our adversaries don’t fear us.” (SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-needs-to-think-about-the-unthinkable-on-cybersecurity/2018/08/21/9c3f2f38-9ff6-11e8-83d2-70203b8d7b44_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d289b664f6f5).
The author further states that these four nations are trying to impose as much pain as possible on the United States, just up to the point where there will not be a full scale war. He says that the United States needs to stop the “naming and shaming” campaign that it has engaged in, and instead, engage in extreme measures such as the following:
*With North Korea:
The United States should demand that the host government expel the hackers, wherever North Korea has them operating in. In response, the U.S. Special Operations forces have plenty of experience taking action such as seizing the buildings that are being used by the Cyber attackers and take them into custody.
Why not punish them with the same kinds of tactics and games that they have inflicted upon the United States, such as shutting down their own electrical system as well?
The United States should use the same kind of Malware that they have inflicted upon their victims in order to disrupt their offshore oil platforms and inflict an interruption of gas flows all the way to the complete destruction of as many oil platforms as are necessary to end or deter a Cyber attack on the US.
My thoughts on all this?
In some ways yes, I do agree with the author of the article. Instead of just finger pointing and calling out the nations whom have launched the Cyber attacks, we need to launch much more serious reprisals our selves. But, I question the responses that the author has suggested. I think these extreme measures instead will result in another attack on the United States, but with much more serious consequences.
Remember, the United States is a country of laws, morals, and ethics, at least theoretically speaking. We know when enough damage is enough so as not to inflict harm upon innocent civilians. But the Cyber terrorists in these countries as mentioned, no know bounds of human decency, morals or laws. They will inflict as much damage and pain on the United States as much as possible, without a regard to innocent human lives.
So, how should the United States respond to a Cyber attack? In my view, the best option would be to resort to some kind of military action, like missile strikes, or surgical strikes launched from aircraft carriers. But nobody knows if even this will work?
So, what will in the end? Only time will tell.