Cyberspace is now the digital frontier of choice for executing many combat operations, by extending the medium in which greater levels of power can now be accessed by Machiavellian agents, militants and nation-states.
Squads of cyber militants going under the banner of Anonymous and LulzSec, motivated by the ease in which they can now execute high impact operations whilst avoiding detection, are just a few of the much publicized names synonymous with cyber terrorism.
The multi-dimensional characteristics of cyberspace have dissolved the boundaries between digital landscape and physical security, facilitating cyber-attacks that produce devastating impacts to critical infrastructure, as well as corporate and government assets.
Global security experts face the challenge of attempting to develop techniques to deter and prevent these global threats. This challenge is complicated further by the rate at which the digital paradigm continues to evolve at a rate which is often considerably faster than the ability to keep up with these developments.
This disparity has, unsurprisingly, created an impression, shared throughout the cyber community, that implementing strategies to control the digital domain has become unachievable. As a result of these challenges and many others, Cyber Warfare is set to be one of the greatest challenges posed to the 21st Century.
This article will examine the characteristics of Cyber War operations in order to clarify the ambiguities surrounding these concepts. Such an examination is necessary in order to ensure that the components of Cyber War are not confused with interrelated disciplines such as Information Warfare.
Real world examples of Cyber Attacks will then be discussed in order to assess the “nuts and bolts” of cyber-attack operations and to examine whether the world is really prepared for the possibility of a “digital apocalypse”.
Throughout the analysis this paper aims to emphasize that deterring Cyber War is the key to addressing this challenge.
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