With the advancement in technology, the nature of conflicts in the world is also changing. It is no longer the era of conventional warfare. In the last few years, cyber attacks have added a new dimension to the overall concept of war.
The cyber warriors just use a few lines of software commands to unleash their terror. Through cyber attacks, organizations, even states can interfere in other organizations and states. The gravity of the situation could be gauged through the fact that some states and organizations had to form their own hackers’ groups.
Cyber attacks can be used for various purposes such as espionage, manipulation, sabotage through cyber bombs and fraud. World’s biggest cyber attack was carried out in 2001, from within the US. Coming into light after Edward Snowden leaked the documents, this attack proved that no country could carry out “secret” activities in electronic medium.
We cannot rule out the importance of the Internet but it has also exposed us to various threats.
Cyber attacks posses the power to plunge all kinds of systems operating on the Internet into confusion in a short span. Among them are systems that are parts of our lives such as aviation, banking, railway, hospitals, financial systems and water and electricity networks. In 2015, companies incurred losses amounting to $400 billion because of cyber attacks. As these attacks are regarded as a serious risk for companies, they make it essential that the security sector keeps up with them in terms of advancement. Just in the early 2016, $100 billion have already been spent on security. In the upcoming years, it will not come out as a surprise that this margin will be doubled.
In March 2016, in the budgetary draft presented to the Congress, the US government requested the budget allocated to cyber security expenses to be increased and certain systems to be renewed. Stating that they will give weight to cyber strategy in 2017, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter engaged in cyber security drills in several organizations, the government being in particular.
The deep state apparatuses and various ideological groups who exploit the Internet technologies constitute the most dangerous part of this virtual war network. Especially the pioneers of dangerous anarchist ideologies; bloodthirsty communists, fascists, savage capitalists, Neo-Nazis, xenophobes and many similar movements that use violence as a means to achieving their goals incline toward cyber attacks nowadays. The fact that the primary ones among the groups whose names are involved in cyber attacks are of the communist-leftist ideologies is important with regard to understanding the magnitude of the danger.
Both in terms of human life and states’ safety and peace, it is crucial to fully understand the severity of the extent these cyber attacks and identify its exact solutions. Be it by gun or by keyboard, if an attack is used to do harm to the opposite side, or cause anarchy, it is called terrorism. Just as eliminating physical terror depends on an ideological struggle, likewise eliminating cyber terror is only possible through carrying out the proper scholarly and scientific work. On one hand, countries are spending huge funds on weapons, while on the other hand they are in a competition to allocate it to cyber defense techniques. However, the amount of these defense expenditures can easily provide shelter and food for the people in need who were forced to run away from Syria, and completely eliminate hunger in Africa. These war and defense expenditures are enough to end homelessness and poverty around the world. The amount spent on defense is sufficient enough to initiate setting a budget for the cure of many illnesses and contribute to the advancement of medical science.
With these defense expenditures, more funding can be provided to relief organizations such as UNHCR, WHO, Amnesty International and UNESCO. But in order to do this, just as in the physical wars, the cause should be addressed in cyber wars as well, and the cause that leads societies into anarchy should be eradicated through scientific methods.
Anarchy is a state of mind; weapons are merely its means. The biggest mistake that is made today is focusing on eliminating the weapon and the individual wielding it rather than the mentality. As long as this mistake is made, the money that should be utilized to feed the hungry will be used on defense expenditures.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Arab News: