Cyber attack and digital war : what impact?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine for instance takes place not only on the battlefield: Ukraine is looking for hackers to declare a digital war against Vladimir Poutine’s country. In fact, in the 21st century, war is not only fought with weapons, Computer cyber attacks have also become a fairly powerful means to wage a digital war. Truth to be told, this is a war where anyone can join, without the need for a machine gun. It is in this sense, that the Ukrainian government appealed to hacktivist movements to join a cyber war against Russia. The project is coordinated via the messaging service Telegram.
In parallel, some assert that Russia has been for years carrying out digital attacks against its enemies. However, nothing can be confirmed or proven in such a war. In other words, it is impossible to verify which groups or individuals are behind a cyber-attack and what motives they are pursuing.
What is a cyber attack ?
By cyber attack, we mean all the electronic attacks that take place over a network connection and which take place in a virtual cyberspace. Attacks of this type aim to circumvent or overcome the existing security barriers in computer systems. For instance various systems, software and methods such as phishing, ransomware and spoofing are used to spy or misappropriate confidential or personal data. These malicious programs are now so sophisticated and highly developed that conventional defence and traceability options are often limited.
Theoretically any computer connected to a network can be the victim of a hacker attack. The only way to get oneself protected against a cyber attack is to have a customized and reliable cyber security solution to minimize risks. Moreover, recent studies show that cyber criminality increases from year to year. Attackers repeatedly attempt to take advantage of particularly vulnerable enterprise systems and skilfully exploit their possible weaknesses. They often aim for a ransom. On the other hand, some cyber threats also have deeper motives, sometimes political and this is the case for Ukraine and Russia. In this event, attackers attempt to steal, destroy or hijack systems and data in the name of “hacktivism”.
What is the purpose of a cyber attack?
The purpose of a cyber attack is to disturb business processes or to damage permanently the reputation of the target. Thus, cybercriminals use various techniques to launch a cyber attack including malware and spyware like Trojan horse virus, viruses or malware.
The different types of cyber attacks
These last years, cybercriminals are increasingly perfecting their methods and constantly find ever more treacherous ways and means to launch attacks on the computer systems of their victims.
Some of the most notorious and common methods include :
- Malware or malicious software: spyware, ransomware, viruses and spyware
- Phishing: method of sending fraudulent communications
- DDoS or attack through denial of service
- Injection SQL
- Zero Day Attacks
What are the consequences of a cyber attack ?
The more digitization there is, the more cyber attacks there are and they can be dangerous if, for instance, the energy supply or the health system are affected. The reason why security in the digital space has gained such political importance is that this security no longer exists.
There are not just countless criminal gangs that are working havoc on the internet today attacking companies, encrypting data and extorting ransoms. The secret services of numerous countries are also active on the Internet.
In fact governmental security of several countries runs a real risk due to cyber espionage. So are we in the middle of a digital war, a cyber war ?
Truth be told, a digital attack can have serious consequences: power cuts, administrations paralyzed, no phone or internet. Similarly, cyber attacks are part of modern warfare. In the Russian-Ukrainian war, they serve to demoralize and misinform but also have an impact on the war.
Finally, in some cases, however, digital attacks can also have a very specific impact on the course of the war.
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How to protect oneself against cyber attacks in 2022 ?
Although cyber attacks are an ongoing battle, they can be avoided by knowing the different types of protocols and resources that malicious actors made use of. Thus, preventing a breach of your network and its systems, requires a protection against a variety of cyber attacks. For each attack, the appropriate countermeasure must be used to dissuade it from exploiting a vulnerability or weakness.
Here are some of the common ways to prevent cyber-attacks:
- Cybersecurity Policy Development
- Implementation of security awareness training
- Installation of spam filters and anti-malware software
- Deployment of a next generation firewall (NGFW)
For advanced cyberattacks, a team of at least 2 to 3 computer security engineers would be required to manage customized software solutions and advanced testing of an organization’s environment, including:
- Carry out vulnerability evaluations
- Performing routine penetration tests
- Implementing information management and event security (SIEM)
- Deployment of detection and prevention of intrusions software (IDS and IPS)
- Creation of a data loss prevention program (DLP)