With the growing trends in information technology and dependence on it has opened new threats to information security around different organizations and nations. Information threat is considered to be one of the greatest threat in recent times because it holds the secret information of all the people in a country that could be compromised causing a serious threats to their lives. Previously, the hackers were intended to hack or get into the systems of organization to get the attention or to take revenge from someone. However with the passage of time it became a form of professionalism where the hackers are hired also to get the job done that might be in order to cause any damage to a person or an organization (Shein, 2013). There are other aspects of this hacking as well that include stealing the information and selling it to the competitors to get money. It then expanded to the national level where the countries or international organizations attack the servers or systems of other countries in order to damage the systems that can be information theft or sabotage. It is called cyber warfare and it can be defined as a virtual conflict that is initiated by the motivation of a political movement to attack the computers and information systems of enemy. There are basic two types of cyber warfare, one is sabotage and the other one is espionage (Shein, 2013). Both these attacks are meant to cause a disruption in the information systems either by disabling communication or power. It occurs by illegal actions taken by hackers to get into systems of enemies and gather the stored information or to leak it causing a security breach in the systems. Cyber warfare does not harm any live in the enemy country but it can be said a form of cold war between countries or between the world and some world known organization seeming to be threat to international peace.
The history of cyber warfare goes back to 1970’s where viruses attacked the computer systems in order to damage the information stored in them (University, n.d.). The nature of attacks in the past was quite different that was limited to only within the boundaries of a country or may be an organization but it was never meant to get into the systems of other countries and get the most important information out of those systems. it can be said that it might be another face of internet being used today, McAfee stated that there might be around 120 countries around the globe that have been planning to use internet as a tool in order to attack no information systems of other countries (Brodkin, 2007). The purpose is to target the financial market and to damage the government information systems and websites that hold most important information meant to be protected in order ensure security of human lives living within. Cyber warfare has been active in number of powerful countries in world including, US, China, Germany, Russia, UK and more.
The world has seen various serious attacks in cyber warfare world where the information has been leaked causing serious threat to the security of people and the countries. In 2011 July, a South Korean company had faced a cyber-attack that caused leakage of information including names, details address photographs of around 35 million people (CROVITZ, 2015). Before this attack another cyber-attack was reported back in 2009 that was denial of service attack against government and media website in US and South Korea. This attack was thought to be caused by North Korea, however the report of single person who tracked the attacked showed that it originated from UK (Sudworth, 2009). The organizations and countries have seen serious cyber-attacks on their website and information systems that can be used in order to expose very sensitive information that can turn the cold war into hot war between countries. The countries have been organizing their cyber warfare force that always intend to get into the systems of their enemies so that they can hack their systems, websites and gather information that is very sensitive and is not meant to be shared with anyone even within own country. An example of declaring cyber warfare as cold war is that in 26 November 2010 group named Indian Cyber Army hacked Pakistan Army website and some other website including ministry of education and foreign ministry (Tribune, 2010). In response to this cyber-attack on 4 December 2010 a group named as Pakistan Cyber Army hacked Indian’s top intelligence agency website Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) (Correspondent, 2010). It is proof of how the countries have been hacking websites or systems of enemy to continue cold war or to show their power, significance and advancement.
As cyber warfare has revealed itself as one of the greatest threat to the security of information being hosted by government department, it still seems that the information systems and technology are not still totally secure so that they can protect all the information and keep the unauthorized persons to gain access. Intelligence agencies in US and other countries are still trying to make a totally secure system that could ensure security of the information to be accessible only by the authorized persons with certain privileges. Still US is facing cyber-attacks as it is confirmed by Obama administration that they had face a serious attack on their information system as they had lost to secure the secret information of more than four million federal employees. However this number was not real it was expected that this number could reach to 32 million federal employees including retired and serving employees posing life threats to all those employees (CROVITZ, 2015). This attack was done by Chinese hackers who managed to get into the system and extract such sensitive information.
Such information lead to leak of information of those as well who were not federal employees because the files also contained the information of those who were close to federal employees. These leaked files related a lot interesting and sensitive facts that need to be protected and secure, but the Chinese hackers had got access to confidential backgrounds and security checks. These attacked were interpreted differently; one claim showed weakness and the other claimed to focus on own security protocols. The director of Office of Personnel Management Katherine Archuleta tried to hide weakness by posing blame on the perpetrator that had actually attacked on system causing information leak. She said that no one is to blame but the perpetrators. Contrary to this statement, Michael Hayden has told Wall Street Journal that if he had got a chance to spy on information of other government then he would not have thought twice (CROVITZ, 2015). He believes it is normal to spy on other government’s information and it is the responsibility of government to secure its information and protect it from unauthorized persons. He believes that it is not shame for China but it is shame for US for not protecting so important and sensitive information.
US is still unable to stop these cyber-attacks on its government agencies website, recent attack on Sony website was depicted as an attacked by North Korea, however further investigation revealed that the attack perpetrated by group of five Chinese hackers. It shows that cyber warfare is still growing and the best way to secure the information the government should develop latest security protocols that could resist access of unauthorized persons so that any sort of breach or attack on network could be resisted and stopped. Cyber warfare is not only a threat to the governments but it also imposes a threat to the companies and their finance as the information being the most important asset of the company could be used to defeat the company by selling it to its competitors.
Cyber warfare has always been a threat to the security of information as it is meant to access the unauthorized information of government agencies and other departments. The information is meant to be accessible and to be secure at the same time and that imposes a great threat to its security. If the information is meant only to be secure but not to be available to be accessed by authorized persons, then it would have been a lot easier to put an end to cyber warfare. However the scenario is a lot different because the information is meant to be available as well that imposes a serious threat to its security as well. It shows that US still not on the winning side of cyber warfare. There is need to focus on the security of such sensitive information that could convert to a threat to lives of individuals and can turn cold war into hot war between different countries around the globe. It can also be a disaster economically to different organizations around the globe.
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