Reality of cyber warfare

Source: R.K. Raghavan

A very recent assessment by a highly reputed London-based think-tank that cyber warfare between nations is a reality and cannot be brushed aside as fanciful should make us sit up and take notice. The warning is contained in an annual report, The Military Balance, issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This in-depth document analyses each year the competitive arms race that goes on between major nations and predicts its possible fall-out from the point of view of military capabilities and defence economics.

The latest analysis, apart from citing threats in cyberspace, refers to dangers arising from the conflict in Afghanistan, the determined Chinese exercise to diversify its military prowess and the nuclear ambitions of Iran. As a Western analysis, it naturally devotes considerable attention to what is happening in China and North Korea, especially on the cyber front. Releasing the report, the IISS said: “Despite evidence of cyber attacks in recent political conflicts, there is little appreciation internationally of how to assess cyber-conflict. We are now, in relation to the problem of cyber-warfare, at the same stage of intellectual development as we were in the 1950s in relation to possible nuclear war.” This may appear to be a strong statement, but it is obviously intended to shake policy makers out of their ignorance and complacence.