A Quick Snapshot: State-Sponsored Cyber War
As you read this, there’s a worldwide chess match between governments. Officials across the globe are harnessing the power of their digital assets and most innovative tech experts to dominate nations they feel threaten their existence. Known as state-sponsored cyberattacks, this form of warfare has proven to be a favorite for many governments.
State-Sponsored Cyberattacks Defined
Governments worldwide employ the brightest and most innovative individuals in their militaries and I.T. government departments in hopes of retrieving sensitive data from other enemy nations. The reason for cyberattacks becoming more and more popular for governments is simple. They’re difficult to detect, virtually risk-free, and more affordable than a costly war.
It’s not uncommon for governments to fund hackers indirectly, almost on a “freelance” basis. These cyberattacks have blurred the lines between criminal organizations and government departments; sometimes, they’re the same. What is for sure is that as time goes on, these state-sponsored cyberattacks are becoming an integral tool for governments everywhere to wage war.
The Stuxnet Event: A Turning Point
When it comes to state-sponsored cyberattacks, one event changed the game forever. Known as “Stuxnet,” this piece of malware was used by the American and Israeli governments as far back as 2010 in a fight against Iranian nuclear facilities. Governments now see cyberattacks as a way to achieve political, commercial, or military dominance over their enemies using sensitive information.
Cyberattacks were no longer solely focused on hackers or cyber criminals trying to steal money, and things would never be the same again. Across the globe and almost overnight, well-funded state departments whose only focus was to engineer state-sponsored cyberattacks began popping up everywhere. The modern war of information was born.
List of Most Notable Incidents for February 2022
Just days before the Russian war against Ukraine, there was a cyberattack on many Ukrainian websites for the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure, and Education. Officials found “wiper malware” to penetrate the government network of one of Ukraine’s top financial institutions and two different government contract firms.
A Beijing-based cybersecurity company accused the U.S. National Security Agency of orchestrating a backdoor attack designed to monitor 45 various companies and governments across the globe. China’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern that such alleged attacks directly threaten the People’s Republic of China’s national security and compromise its I.T. infrastructure.
February 15, 2022, a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack targeted the Ukrainian Defence Ministry and two of the nation’s largest banks, effectively putting both offline. The U.S. and U.K. governments have stated that this is an attack from Russia.
While the Ukrainian Cyber Police feel that these attacks are from Russia, a different type of information attack targets civilians.
India experienced an espionage attack on its military and different diplomat targets. A Pakistani group is to blame for accessing sensitive government files remotely, using malware to breach India’s government network.
The Kremlin and its ecosystem hackers have breached different defense contractors between January 2020 and, most recently, February 2022. This breach allowed the hackers to make off with a collection of sensitive emails, company data on military defense products, and information on other government contracts.
Western Europe ports, mainly in Belgium and Germany, saw several oil terminals experience cyberattacks, preventing them from processing incoming shipments. A ransomware strain was found with a Russian hacker group that claimed responsibility for this network breach.
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