The world has no shortage of war, so it’s no surprise to discover another one.
But this one is different in that it doesn’t involve all the traditional tools of war; armies, guns, tanks, missiles, drones, and country invasion. Although it does retain the ability to inflict pain, suffering and misery.
It has been fueled by the growth in technology, and thrives on the inability of individuals to consider the unintended consequences of their actions.
Like all modern wars, it can be viewed on a screen, just like a computer game.
Click the image to follow the action provided by security company Norse .
These are real time attacks from one computer to another, probing security systems, looking for a way in. But don’t be misled by the implication this is ‘China’ vs the ‘USA’, or any other country.
It’s way more subtle than that.
This is a war without frontiers, uniforms, or even a clearly defined enemy.
The attack location can be anywhere on the planet, as can the target.
Attackers can include small-time thieves, drug dealers, arms dealers, organized crime, commercial competition, activists, rogue states, secret states, and governments, to name just a few.
It’s under reported, so makes it difficult to know which activities are the result of cyber attacks and which aren’t. Quite often those that suffer the outages aren’t certain either.
On the 8th July this year, one day after the China stock market crash, several incidents happened on the same day in USA. Computer ‘glitches’ were blamed;
1. The NYC subway system left a few trains stuck in some stations for extended periods of time.
2. United Airlines’ computer system stopped working, forcing all flights from the airline to be grounded.
3. The New York Stock Exchange’s computerized trading system also stopped working, causing trading to be suspended, a big deal in one of, if not the, world’s largest trading market.
4. Following the New York Stock Exchange failure, the Wall Street Journal’s website also malfunctioned.
5. Over 2,500 residents in Washington, DC lost power.
Maybe, but the capacity of cyber-war to devastate Power, Water or Communications infrastructure is proven.
A recent internet outage lasting only 5 days provided a sharp and timely reminder to me of just how dependent we have become on technology, and how difficult life could be with sustained outages.
The mesmerisingly pretty graphics mask that reality.
(If time permits, I’ll post a more detailed perspective later).