Cyber Warfare and National Security: An Analysis

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Cyber Warfare and National Security: An Analysis

Written by: Aayushi Mishra


Almost every aspect of our lives is impacted by computers and networking in the electronic age. Because of the widespread use of computers in government, business and education, any computer, computer system or network issues would cause significant delays in their daily operations. When it comes to conducting business in a cost-effective and efficient manner, using computers and computer systems can help. These vulnerabilities may be exploited by malicious actors to cause economic harm through the disruption of critical services such as electrical power, finance and telecommunications via the Internet.

The United States’ communication, commerce, military command and control, emergency services and mass transit systems, as well as power plant distribution and a host of other critical infrastructures essential to enabling and maintaining 21st-century society, are now built on cyberspace. Cyberspace is a global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of information technology (IT) infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunication networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers. [1]

Increasing reliance on information technology has led to a rise in cyber threats. Malicious cyberattacks can be carried out by a variety of actors, including nation-states, non-state actors, state-sponsored groups, and individuals. Cyber and sabotage attacks on critical the United States economic, energy, and transportation infrastructures may be viewed by invested adversaries as a way to circumvent United States strengths on the battlefield and attack United States interests directly at home. [2] Supporting its national security strategy, the nation must establish a multilateral strategic framework focused on the dynamic challenges of cyber in the information era

Cyber warfare are future warfare

We must learn and understand cyber warfare because of the current environment. Information technology is the environment. There has been a dramatic change in our society as a result of the rapid development of information and communication technology. Both the public and private sectors are affected by this dependence.

Vital factors of public life such as air, road, and railway traffic control, the dissemination of energy like electricity or gas, telecommunication systems [3], key government sectors such as national defence are now organized and controlled through the use of computers and networked systems. In the private sector, computers and the internet play a major role in the way we work, communicate, buy or sell products, run businesses, control or invest money, and so forth.

All financial institutions that deal with large sums of money rely on computer systems. As a result, not only the military Intelligence organisations but also the executive officers at banks Securities firms and other companies have taken this subject seriously. Defence and intelligence officials are concerned that enemy nations, terrorists, and criminal groups may launch cyber warfare attacks against networks such as

  1. The banking system – stock exchange, logic bombs could cripple the markets and destroy records of transactions, money can be stolen by cracking networks.
  2. Electric utilities in several states and Power plants –power grids can be knocked out causing local or regional blackouts.
  3. Telephone networks – can be knocked down.
  4. Air traffic control centres – plane crashes/collisions can be caused by disabling and creating malfunctions on computer systems and on-board avionics computers.
  5. Trains, subways – crashes can be caused by mis-routing trains.

Due to the nature of cyberspace, it is extremely difficult to identify cybercriminals and their motives. As a result, all serious cyberattacks are now classified as cyberwar by nations worldwide. A cyber war arms race is fueled by this, which results in more instability and less security for all. We need to tone down our cyberwar rhetoric, even as we strengthen our cybersecurity law enforcement policies and work to demilitarise the internet

Let us consider three specific cases:

Estonia was the victim of a series of denial-of-service cyberattacks in 2007 during a period of political tensions between the Russian Federation and the country. Because of circumstantial evidence, the Russian government was blamed for the attacks. An ethnic Russian living in Tallinn, who was upset by Estonia’s actions and who had been acting alone, was convicted in an Estonian court for his part in these attacks.[4]

It wasn’t until 2009 that security researchers in Dharamsala, India discovered a highly sophisticated surveillance system in the network of the Dalai Lama. GhostNet was discovered to have infiltrated political, economic, and media targets in 103 countries, according to further investigation. Although the evidence was circumstantial, China was thought to be the source of this surveillance network. It was also unclear whether this network was run by an organization of the Chinese Government, or by Chinese nationals for either profit or nationalist reasons.[5]

Normally, you could tell who the attacker was based on the weaponry he or she was using. The military was involved when you saw a tank driving down your street because only the military could afford tanks. In cyberspace, everything is different. Anyone can use the same weapons in cyberspace: hackers; criminals; political hacktivists; spy agencies; military forces; and even the potential cyberterrorist.

To do this, they use similar hacking tools and attack techniques and leave a similar trail of evidence. Every single one of them eavesdrops or steals information. They’re all involved in denial-of-service attacks, and they’re all doing it together. They all try to penetrate cyber defences and hide their tracks.

But knowing the attacker is still vital. Many different types of organisations are available to us as members of society to help defend us from an attack. It is possible to contact the police or the armed forces. As a last resort, we can turn to our national anti-terrorist agency and our corporate lawyers. Or, we can use a variety of commercial products and services to protect ourselves.

According to the situation, all of these options are viable options to take into account. Who is attacking you and why will determine the legal framework in which any defence operates. As a result, when you are attacked in cyberspace, you often have no idea who is behind the attack, or why. Because not everything is cyberwar, we’re seeing more and more warlike tactics used in larger cyberconflicts. Because of this, establishing a national cyber defence strategy and a defence policy is a challenge.

Inevitably, we tend to think the worst of people. It is logical to assume that the military should be in charge of all cyber defence since military problems require military solutions. In the words of many of the world’s political leaders, cyberwar is the problem, and we’re all engaged in one right now. There is no war in cyberspace. Criminal activity, some organised and most international is rampant.

It’s not uncommon for countries, companies, organisations, and individuals to be subjected to politically motivated hacking (hacktivism). On the other hand, there is espionage which can be carried out either individually or by national espionage organisations. Offensive actions by national organisations range from probing each other’s cyber defences to actual damage-causing cyberweapons like Stuxnet, which is the most notorious example.

The word “war” has two meanings: the literal meaning, which conjures up images of guns, tanks, and advancing armies, and the figurative meaning, which refers to wars against crime, poverty, drugs, and terror. Because the term “cyberwar” has both literal and rhetorical connotations, using it when discussing cybersecurity and cyberattacks is fraught with danger and peril.

Words are important. Our role as citizens is to be protected by the police. When it comes to the military, we are nothing more than a population to be controlled. A war-like view of cybersecurity reinforces the idea that we are helpless in the face of danger and that we need a government—indeed, an army—to protect us.

Global policy debates are affected by the framing of the issue as a war. In wartime, many of the measures proposed by different countries might make sense, but not in peacetime. In the war on drugs and terror, there’s no winning condition, which means a permanent state of emergency for the entire population. In cyberspace, we’re witnessing a power grab by the militaries of the world. Our cyberwar arms race is just getting started.

Arms races are a result of both ignorance and fear: ignorance of the other side’s capabilities and fear that they are greater than one’s own. Once cyberweapons are in existence, there will be a push to use them. Stuxnet harmed networks that were not intended to be affected. Any backdoors that the military inserts into Internet systems will make us more vulnerable to criminals and hackers.

The cyberwar arms race is a destabilising force. It’s only a matter of time before something big happens, perhaps due to the rash actions of a low-level military officer, an enthusiastic hacker who believes he’s working in his country’s best interest, or by accident. If the target nation retaliates, we could find ourselves in a real cyberwar.


We need to tone down the belligerent attitude and boost international cybersecurity collaboration. We must continue to discuss cyberwar treaties. In cyberspace, we need to create rules of engagement, including mechanisms to identify where assaults originate and precise definitions of what constitutes an offensive activity. We must comprehend both the role of cyber mercenaries and non-state actors.

Cyberterrorism is still a popular media and political fantasy, but that will change in the near future. Finally, we must ensure that our infrastructure is resilient. Many cyberattacks, regardless of their source, make use of Internet flaws. We’ll be safer if we can reduce them. The threat of cyberspace is real, but militarizing it would cause more harm than benefit. The importance of a free and open Internet is far too great to be compromised by our worries.

About the Author

Cyber Warfare and National Security: An Analysis - Aayushi

Aayushi Mishra

Student at Vivekananda School of Law and Legal Studies, VIPS

[1] Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 6-0, Joint Communication System (June 10, 2010), 1-6.

[2] National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (November 2008),

97, http://www _2025/2025 _Global_ Trends_Final_Report. pdf

[3] VarvaraMitliaga,“Cyber-Terrorism:ACallforGovernmentAction?”,BILETA

Annual Conference (April 9th –10th 2001)



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