This much is clear that more nations are seeking to acquire cyber attack capabilities as a standard feature in their military planning. But what will that mean to United States’ security interests here and abroad?
With Congress to consider cyber legislation this week, a House subcommittee investigating that question used the occasion to make a headline.
There are no shells exploding or foreign militaries on their shores. But make no mistake: America is under attack by digital bombs.
China’s cyber warfare capabilities and the espionage campaigns they have undertaken are the most prevalent of any nation state actor.
The citizen hacker groups directed by China has engaged in cyber espionage, established cyber war military units and laced the U.S. infrastructure with logic bombs
They have been fortunate that up until this point, cyber attacks in their country have not caused a cataclysmic event that could bring physical harm to Americans. But that is not for a lack of effort on the part of those who mean to destroy their way of life.
But gauging the exact magnitude of these cyber probes still remains much of a guessing game dominated by anecdotal evidence. In part, the picture remains incomplete because companies are not required to announce breaches involving intellectual property or critical infrastructure.
One other worry that hasn’t received as much attention is the prospect of collaboration between nations and non-state actors as attack tools become more widespread within the cybercrime black market.
As their capabilites “become “commoditized,” the temptation for these politically motivated groups to use them against vulnerable U.S. targets will increase.