Russia has not yet used conventional troops or weapons to attack Ukraine, but that does not mean it has not attacked. It has been doing this relentlessly for years, using electronic and psychological weapons.
The United States has also been the target of this, especially with regard to disinformation and campaign influence around the election. But something much worse could come.
But now the stakes are higher. Instead of continuing endless guerrilla wars, Americans must unite to prepare for a serious attack on their electronic infrastructure. This should be given the same sense of urgency that an expected military attack would arouse.
All Americans must consider the consequences of a real cyber war.
As Joshua S. Huminski of The Hill wrote on Sunday, the United States has yet to see what a real cyber war looks like.
“There have been, of course, cyber attacks, intelligence operations and crime on the Internet, but there has been no open war in cyberspace,” he wrote.
Think in the direction of 2017 NotPetya attack on Ukrainein which some computers belonging to the financial, business and power sectors have been erased. Think of mass ransomware attacks, hacking, and other damage that puts financial systems and government at risk. If Russia invades Ukraine, and the United States reacts with dire consequences, as promised by President Joe Biden, the next step could be a complete cyber war.
Last month Politicians said hackers disconnected more than 70 state sites of Ukraine. Microsoft has discovered malware embedded in the government systems of Ukraine, which can run remotely.
A year ago a report appeared Proofpoint Cybersecurity Group found that most of the world’s top information security officers around the world say they are not ready for that, according to The Hill.
Earlier this week, the FBI asked companies in the United States to inform them of “any intensified (cyber) activity against Ukraine or critical US infrastructure.” This includes any attacks on financial, medical and energy issues.
The Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency too announced the announcement “raise the shields.”urging all organizations, large and small, to “take a heightened stance when it comes to cybersecurity and the protection of their most important assets”.
These threats are a step up from tactics in the past that have been aimed at exacerbating political differences in the United States.
Young Mi Kim, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and an expert on political communication in digital media, revealed many of these tactics ahead of the 2020 election.
“Russian trolls pretended to be American people, including political groups and candidates,” she wrote. Brennan Center for Justice. “They tried to sow division, targeting left and right posts to provoke outrage, fear and hostility. Much of their work seemed to be aimed at discouraging some people from voting. And they focused on the swing states. ”
There were also more direct attacks. It is believed that the Russians hacked it Illinois Election Database 2020. It was assumed that they somehow did not change the vote, but changed personal information may have been stolen from many voters.
None of this seemed to affect the record turnout, but this tactic may seem insignificant compared to total cyberwarfare.
The Biden administration is undoubtedly aware of these threats. The question is whether it is doing enough and whether American companies, financial institutions and governments are sufficiently informed and prepared. Is Washington ready to help them prepare?
In a world where so much life now depends on the Internet and virtual transactions, this is hardly a trivial matter.