Sunday, 15 February 2009

cyber-warfare


It has recently come to light that Germany’s military trains its own hackers – and that Governments around the world are preparing for the future of war.

The uniformed hackers from Rheinbach are Germany's answer to a growing threat which has begun to worry governments, intelligence agencies and military officials. Now that computers have made their way into practically every aspect of life, their susceptibility to attacks has risen dramatically. In the United States, experts have been warning for years against an "electronic Pearl Harbor," a "digital Sept. 11" or a "Cybergeddon."

Estonia was the first NATO member state to fall victim to this form of digital attack. In the spring of 2007, banks, government agencies and political parties in Estonia came under massive electronic attack. The Baltic republic was essentially offline for a while, making it the scene of the first "cyber war." Officials there suspect the attack came from neighboring Russia, because Estonia was embroiled in serious diplomat disputes with Moscow at the time.

The use of the term "war" in the Estonian case seem a wee bit strange as in the controversial sense there were no dead or wounded. Nevertheless, the attack shows that assaults on the virtual world can also have disastrous consequences. The Internet has developed into a virtual battlefield, which can mirror conflicts in the real world.

Many countries are now preparing for similar threats. The USA alone plan to invest billions of dollars in a national cyber-defence program. Western intelligence agencies and military officials are becoming increasingly convinced that their enemies are in the East, just as they were in the Cold War - With Russia and China taking on the part of the bad guys again. A report to the U.S. Congress last year concluded that China is "aggressively" expanding its cyber-warfare capabilities and may soon possess an "asymmetric advantage." According to the report, "these advantages would reduce the conventional superiority of the United States in a conflict situation."

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