The global reliance on computers, networks and systems continues to grow. As our dependency grows so do the threats that target our military s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems as well as the operational components and electronic controls for our critical infrastructure. Over the past decade we have experienced a substantial rise in the complexity and sophistication of cyber attacks as well as a frightening increase in the impact of some of the attacks. Every computer is a potential cyber weapon waiting to be loaded and used by extremists, criminals, terrorists and rogue nation states. As the world becomes more and more dependent on computers and information technology, the greater the risk of cyber attacks. Government and military leaders now face this fact and our critical systems and infrastructure remain at great risk! This risk has made the ability to defend these critical systems and direct cyber attacks core capabilities required for the modern military. In the age of cyber conflict, leaders need to understand the weapons and strategies used to wage this rapidly evolving type of warfare. This handbook will provide the background needed to understand the new world of cyber warfare, define the tools and techniques for offensive and defensive action, and provide insight into the strategies behind building a dynamic and relevant cyber warfare capability.
The Weaponry and Strategies of Digital Conflict and Cyber War, Version 3, covering Cyber Warfare, Cyber Terrorism, Cyber Tradecraft, Cyber Activism and offensive, defensive actions and intelligence collection.
Cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage and cyber crime are all growing threats. The 2012 Version 3 of the Cyber Commander’s eHandbook provides the insight needed to understand the new world of cyber warfare, as well as defines the tools and techniques for offensive and defensive cyber action, and provide cyber intelligence needed to understand the strategies behind building a dynamic and relevant cyber warfare capability.
In September 2010, media reports emerged about a new form of cyber attack that appeared to target Iran, although the actual target, if any, is unknown. Through the use of thumb drives in computers that were not connected to the Internet, a malicious software program known as Stuxnet infected computer systems that were used to control the functioning of a nuclear power plant. Once inside the system, Stuxnet had the ability to degrade or destroy the software on which it operated. Although early reports focused on the impact on facilities in Iran, researchers discovered that the program had spread throughout multiple countries worldwide.
From the perspective of many national security and technology observers, the emergence of the Stuxnet worm is the type of risk that threatens to cause harm to many activities deemed critical to the basic functioning of modern society. The Stuxnet worm covertly attempts to identify and exploit equipment that controls a nation’s critical infrastructure. A successful attack by a software application such as the Stuxnet worm could result in manipulation of control system code to the point of inoperability or long-term damage. Should such an incident occur, recovery from the damage to the computer systems programmed to monitor and manage a facility and the physical equipment producing goods or services could be significantly delayed. Depending on the severity of the attack, the interconnected nature of the affected critical infrastructure facilities, and government preparation and response plans, entities and individuals relying on these facilities could be without life sustaining or comforting services for a long period of time. The resulting damage to the nation’s critical infrastructure could threaten many aspects of life, including the government’s ability to safeguard national security interests.
Iranian officials have claimed that Stuxnet caused only minor damage to its nuclear program, yet the potential impact of this type of malicious software could be far-reaching. The discovery of the Stuxnet worm has raised several issues for Congress, including the effect on national security, what the government’s response should be, whether an international treaty to curb the use of malicious software is necessary, and how such a treaty could be implemented. Congress may also consider the government’s role in protecting critical infrastructure and whether new authorities may be required for oversight.