The Future of Cyber War infographic discusses the definition of cyber war and what the future looks like on the Cyber front!

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Next-Gen Cyberwar

In 2022, just hours before Russian troops invaded, Ukraine was hit by new malware designed to wipe data.

Is Cyber War Already Here?

  • In the first 10 weeks of 2022, over 150 cyberattacks were launched against Ukraine 
  • In January 2022, hackers disabled more than 70 government websites in Ukraine
    • Microsoft found malware in Ukraine government systems that could be triggered remotely
  • In February 2022, the FBI asked US companies to alert them to “any increased [cyber]activity against Ukraine or US critical infrastructure”
    • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a “shields up” alert — recommending all organizations adopt a heightened cybersecurity posture
  • In March 2022, there were more than 6 billion potential cyberattacks worldwide in a single 24-hour period
    • Most Targeted Countries
      • 61% targeted Russia
      • 23% targeted Ukraine
      • 6% targeted the US

[Call Out: For Russia, the war with Ukraine is likely serving as a live testing ground for its next generation of cyber weapons]

  • Why Use Ukraine As A Testing Ground?
    • Ukraine’s tech infrastructure is similar to Western Europe and North America
      • But, there are limited resources for counter-attacks
    • Cyber attacks have grown over time
      • In 2015, suspected Russian hackers knocked out electricity for 230,000 customers in western Ukraine
      • In 2016, a similar attack targeted Ukraine government agencies and financial establishments
      • In 2017, “NotPetya” attack on Ukraine, wiped computers belonging to the financial, business, and power grid sectors 
    • In 2022, the US and the EU have provided support to bolster cyber defenses in Ukraine – but cyberattacks are unlikely to stay within its borders
      • Another approach to counter attacks has pro-Ukraine hackers targeting websites in Russia to create panic and chaos, rather than targeting critical infrastructure
        • Typically scan wide swaths of the internet for vulnerable devices
        • Malware automatically attacks targets where its likely to succeed
        • These types of attacks are more likely to bring collateral damage across borders

[Call Out: 50% of US tech execs say state-sponsored cyber warfare is their biggest threat

— 32% of US tech execs say defining a national cybersecurity protocol should be a top priority]

What Will Cyber War Look Like?

  • The connections between cyber and physical assets are growing, bringing greater risk to both network and physical infrastructure security
    • In 2021, data breaches and cybersecurity attacks on average cost companies $4.24 million per breach — 10% more than previous year
    • The pandemic has only heightened the potential for damage from cyberthreats
      • More information has moved to the cloud
      • More services are provided digitally
      • More people are working remotely, through less-secure home networks and personal devices
  • Cyber Attack vs Cyber War
    • To date, most cyberattacks have been less devastating – likely because they were testing new cyberweapons
      • Cyberattacks have the potential to
        • Shut down electrical grids
        • Destroy technology, including: steel mills, gas pipelines, centrifuges
        • Explode or self-destruct power infrastructure
      • An aggressive attack could knock down many targets as one time, magnifying the impact
    • Cyber war could have impact on the scale of a natural disaster
      • For example, knocking out a power grid could create similar conditions to the 2021 Texas freeze
        • Widespread damage due to frozen and burst pipes
        • Loss of electricity, food storage, and water access
        • Massive disruption to everyday activities
        • Over 200 deaths

[Call Out: 93% of Americans fear cyberwar against the US — Only 19% of Americans are totally confident the government can protect citizens against cyber warfare]

Preparing For Cyber War

  • 70% of people agree the US is ranked most secure for cyberware attacks
    • Most CyberSecure Countries
      • US: 70%
      • Japan: 67%
      • China: 63%
      • Germany: 55%
      • UK: 53%
      • Russia: 53%
      • Australia: 51%
      • India: 34%
  • 90% of potential cyberattacks are distributed denial of service, or DDoS attacks
    • 75% of the cyberattacks targeted financial services
    • 20% targeted business networks
    • DDoS attacks seek to make a resource unavailable to users
      • Americans are most afraid of losing access to
        • Finances: 71%
        • Cell service: 64%
        • Running water: 62%
        • Internet: 61%
        • Fresh food: 61%
        • Utilities: 53%
        • Health records: 49%
  • Americans have already started taking measures to protect themselves from cyber-warfare, including
    • Update all software for computers and mobile devices: 52%
    • Backup important documents offline: 48%
    • Back up computers and mobile devices offline: 46%
    • Change important passwords: 46%
    • Back up emails offline: 40%
    • Have cash reserves as well as online banking: 37%
    • Have generators installed and food and water storage: 31%