Attacks show that cyberspace could be future battlefield
Threats to our nation continue to change in the modern era as our enemies find new ways to potentially inflict harm.
Evidence of one of those threats surfaced recently when an Internet security firm reported cyberattacks on the United States had been traced to the Chinese military.
The scope of the attacks was startling. The Mandiant Corp. said a special branch of the Chinese military located in Shanghai had breached computer security at 141 organizations and compromised huge amounts of data. Many of these organizations were located in the United States.
China has denied the allegations, but the country has long been suspected of being behind some major computer security break-ins. Mandiant officials said they believe it is time to “acknowledge the threat is originating in China” in order to encourage “security professionals to combat that threat effectively.”
And it is a significant threat. A sophisticated cyberattack could undermine our financial, communication and energy infrastructure. In fact, virtually all aspects of our modern society depend on computers to some extent.
The reality is that the cyber world could be the battlefield of the future. And that is why nations – and, yes, that includes the United States – are involved in finding ways to exploit weaknesses of others and to defend against attacks from potential enemies.
One scary aspect of this new form of “weaponry” is that it is not limited to “superpowers” or nations that can afford sophisticated weaponry.
All that it takes to be a cyber “superpower” is modest resources and talented individuals who can exploit computer security. That could mean groups of terrorists and even individuals with grudges. Still, the biggest threats to America likely will come from nations like China.
Cyberattacks could present the new “nuclear” threat in this modern era in terms of the damage that could be done to our society. It is something that needs to be taken seriously and requires the full attention of not only our government but also private companies that could be targeted.