Five worthy reads is a regular column on five noteworthy items we’ve discovered while researching trending and timeless topics. In this edition, we’ll explain why cyberwarfare could be a potential cyberthreat in 2023.

Cyberwarfare was one of the top trending terms in 2022, and the incidents that happened last year have opened up more discussions regarding this topic. Most people think cyberwarfare is synonymous with the term cyberwar. However, there is a difference, so let’s understand it clearly.

Cyberwarfare deals with the different techniques that are used while engaging in a cyberwar. This means cyberwarfare involves modern tools that can destroy or defunctionalize critical infrastructures associated with a nation or state. Cyberwarfare can be in the form of attacks directed towards financial, safety, military, and other infrastructures of nationwide or statewide importance.

Possible motives behind a cyberwarfare movement include changing political views within a particular nation, the intention to incapacitate economies, the desire to create conflict among nations, and the aim to decrease a nation’s military efficiency.

According to BDO, some commonly used cyberwarfare techniques include:

  • Espionage: Finding sensitive information about other countries

  • Sabotage: Identifying methods of creating harm with critical information that has been obtained

  • Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks: Attacks that interrupt the service offered by a particular website or organization by flooding it with fake requests from illegitimate users

  • Surprise attacks: Unexpected cyberattacks on enemies to breach their defenses

  • Electrical power grid attacks: Attacks that destroy critical infrastructure like power grids, which can also hamper communication

  • Economic disruptions: Attacks targeting economic institutions, like banks, stock markets, and other payment systems

  • Cyber propaganda: Influencing people’s perspectives towards a particular direction; for example, psychologically making people feel that a particular concept is correct or incorrect

Let us look at five interesting articles about cyberwarfare to understand why we should worry about it in 2023.

1. Cyber Warfare Is Getting Real

Cyber weapons are easier and cheaper to design than conventional weapons. This opens up a big avenue of possibilities for even the weakest nations. When a cyberattack is initiated by one side, the other side might react in an aggressive way. The worst part is that the victim might even attack a different party due to a misidentification of the attackers, which is often the case that leads to cyberwarfare.

2. Understanding the Rising Cyber Warfare Trends in the World

Cyberwarfare involves multiple offensive cyber operations of such large magnitudes that no individual organization or agency can fight against them. Government and financial agencies will be majorly exposed to these threats, which opens up an avenue for collaborative operations for defense and response. Despite the political unrest, there are many technological advancements that enterprises can adopt to protect their infrastructures from cyberwarfare threats.

 3. Security Outlook 2023: Cyber Warfare Expands Threats

Last year, we witnessed ransomware attacks and cyberwarfare methods being deployed across different parts of the world. Wiper, data wiping malware, is here to stay. Ransomware as a Service and Cybercrime as a Service will continue to grow too. Reconnaissance as a Service and Laundering as a Service will emerge soon. The metaverse has also opened up new opportunities for hackers. But the good news is that the patterns used in these cyberthreats are similar and repetitive and can be detected using AI and ML technologies.

4. The changing face of cyberwarfare

In 2023, being future-proof has got a new meaning. The introduction of quantum computing has created new attack vectors. As a new paradigm, it has a new set of rules in terms of security and encryption. For example, organizations must have a quantum-safe, out-of-band encryption key distribution system to protect their critical infrastructures from cyberwarfare threats.

5. The Future of Cyber Warfare in the Indo-Pacific

Decisions to employ cyberwarfare methods are mostly associated with political, military, and economic tensions. In the Asia-Pacific region, there is a new balance of cyber power due to accelerating digital transformation. Government agencies that monitor the internet must strike a balance between encouraging digital transformation and implementing adequate cybersecurity measures. Nations should avoid creating a cyber arms race but at the same time should continue to strengthen their cybersecurity postures. 

The legal status of cyberwarfare is still unclear, so combating it is a challenge. According to BDO, some ways we can try to reduce cyberwarfare include: 

  • Conducting risk assessments via cyberwar games: Test different situations under unusual conditions with the help of real-life simulations of cyberwarfare.

  • Employing multilayered cyberdefense solutions: Implement security solutions at different levels, like application security, network security, cloud security, endpoint security, IoT security, and threat intelligence.

  • Securing the private sector: Cyberwarfare methods will mainly target the private sectors in nations. Ensuring that businesses are equipped with the necessary security measures to protect themselves against such large-scale attacks is important.

There also might be a bill on digital civil disobedience this year as people have started to attack their own governments’ sites or critical infrastructures. All of this presents an opportunity for security software providers to experiment further and emphasize the importance of implementing strategies and solutions across different businesses and infrastructures.

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