This term paper looks at cyber warfare, past, present and future; focusing on some of the most high profile cyber warfare attacks, how they were defended against, or how they might be defended against in the future. I will discuss a basic timeline of key cyber-attacks: Computer ancestor worm attacks date back to the 1970s, between 2003-2006 worm viruses helped turn computers into Botnets and creates Botnet farms, 2005-2007 Internet Mafias become a presence on the web, 2005-2006 hackers in China begin to attack U.S. computers, 2008 Pentagon computers are hacked from Russia, 2009 an insurgent group uses off-the-shelf Russian software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. drones, 2010 the most sophisticated worm ever created attacks an Iranian nuclear facility. We will continue to see warfare and espionage spread online and this research paper will not only exam the history of this phenomenon, but also where its heading. Ill discuss the main types of cyber warfare and highlight some of the biggest government sponsored cyber-attacks.
Security expert Richard A. Clarke, in his book Cyber War (May 2010), defines cyber warfare as actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nations computers or networks for the purpose of causing damage or disruption. Today, the majority of cyber professionals agree that Cyber warfare can be defined as an Internet-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Cyber warfare attacks can disable official websites and networks, disrupt or disable essential services, steal or alter classified data, and cripple financial systems — among many other possibilities.
The perplexing question still remains, how do we differentiate between cyber war (and actual act of war) and hacking, or cyber espionage, or cybercrime. More importantly, what is the appropriate response? Can a cyber-attack by another by another nation-state prompt a physical military response?
In this paper, I will go beyond defining what does or does not constitute Cyber warfare. I will also examine cyber warfare past, present and future; focusing on some of the most high profile cyber warfare attacks, how they were defended against, or how they might be defended against in the future. Including STUXNET, the most sophisticated worm ever created. Lastly, Ill discuss offensive and defensive cyber war, where we are now, and where were heading.
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