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Cybersecurity, Cyberterrorism, Cyberwarfare and Electronic Warfare

[California Institute of Technology - Los Angeles Times]


“Data is no longer a commodity; it is a currency, 

and it is as valuable for attackers as it is for business.“



- Overview

With the digital revolution surrounding all businesses, big or small, businesses, organizations and even governments are relying on computerized systems to manage their day-to-day activities, thus making cyber security a major factor in protecting data from all kinds of online attacks or any unauthorized access. As news of data breaches, ransomware, and hacks become the norm, constant changes in technology mean a parallel shift in cybersecurity trends.

As technology advances, cyberattacks become more sophisticated. As technology is used more and more in our daily lives, so is cybercrime, and it turns out that cyberattacks accounted for 92% of all recent data breaches. Keeping abreast of cybersecurity trends and laws is critical to combating these threats that can severely impact business.

From a national security and defense perspective, AI is a crucial technology to enhance situational awareness and accelerate the realization of timely and actionable intelligence that can save lives. For many current defense applications, this often requires the processing of visual data, images, or full motion video from legacy platforms and sensors designed decades before recent advances in machine learning, computer vision, and AI. 


- Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity

Critical infrastructure cybersecurity refers to the programs, protocols, and technology used to protect a country's critical infrastructure. 

Infrastructure security is the practice of protecting critical systems and assets from physical and cyber threats. From an IT perspective, this typically includes hardware and software assets such as end-user devices, data center resources, network systems, and cloud resources.

The three interwoven elements of critical infrastructure are physical, cyber, and human. Businesses rely on their technology assets to keep their operations going, so protecting the technology infrastructure is protecting the organization itself. Proprietary data and intellectual property (IP) provide many companies with a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace, and any loss or interruption of access to this information can have a profound negative impact on a company's profitability. 

Critical infrastructure is defined as systems, assets, networks, and functions that are so important to a country that their destruction or incapacitation would have a negative impact on its security, national economic security, public health, or safety. 

Critical infrastructure includes:

  • Computer systems and networks
  • Computer programs
  • Computer data
  • Traffic data
  • Highways
  • Connecting bridges and tunnels
  • Railways
  • Utilities
  • Buildings

Critical infrastructure is essential for providing vital economic and social functions, such as: Health, Food, Security, Transport, Energy.


- Network Infrastructure Security

Typically applied in enterprise IT environments, network infrastructure security is the process of protecting the underlying network infrastructure by installing preventive measures to deny unauthorized access, modification, deletion and theft of resources and data. These security measures can include access controls, application security, firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), behavioral analytics, intrusion prevention systems, and wireless security.

Network infrastructure security requires a holistic approach to ongoing processes and practices to ensure the underlying infrastructure is protected. When it comes to figuring out what to implement, here are a few ways.

  • Segment and isolate networks and functions - Special attention should be paid to the overall infrastructure layout. Proper segmentation and isolation is an effective security mechanism that can limit the propagation of potential intruder exploits to other parts of the internal network.
  • Limit unnecessary lateral communication - Point-to-point communication in the network cannot be ignored. Unfiltered communication between peers could allow intruders to move freely between computers. This provides an opportunity for attackers to establish persistence in the target network by embedding a backdoor or installing an application.
  • Hardening Network Equipment - Hardening network equipment is the primary way to increase the security of network infrastructure. It is recommended to adhere to industry standards and best practices regarding network encryption, available services, secure access, strong passwords, securing routers, limiting physical access, backing up configurations, and regularly testing security settings.
  • Secure Access to Infrastructure Devices - Grant administrative privileges to allow certain trusted users to access resources. Ensure user authenticity by implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), managing privileged access, and managing administrative credentials.
  • Perform out-of-band (OoB) network management - OoB management implements a dedicated communication path to remotely manage network devices. This enhances network security by separating user traffic from management traffic.
  • Verify the integrity of hardware and software - Gray market products threaten IT infrastructure through vectors that allow attacks on the network. Illegal products may be pre-installed with malware, waiting to be introduced into unsuspecting networks. Organizations should conduct regular integrity checks of their equipment and software.


- Building the Future of Electronic Warfare, Radar and Communications

Military service members rely on a growing number of electronic functions, including communications, electronic warfare (EW), and radar. 

Defense OEMs are facing increasingly complex challenges in delivering solutions for these electronic functions due to increasing demands for size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) reduction. These challenging requirements lay the foundation for the innovative use of new technologies.

The threat of AI-driven cyberwarfare is a real danger. As we continue to develop these powerful technologies, it is important that we carefully consider the implications of using AI in military settings. By staying informed and adapting to this new threat landscape, we can ensure our operations and data remain secure. 


Val di Funes_Italy_052622A
[Val di Funes, Italy]

- Electronic Warfare vs Cyber Warfare

Electronic warfare (EW) includes military operations that involve the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or attack an enemy. Cyber warfare involves weakening adversaries through information systems and the Internet.

Electronic Warfare (EW) represents the ability to use the electromagnetic spectrum -- signals such as radio, infrared or radar -- to sense, protect, and communicate. At the same time, it can be used to deny adversaries the ability to either disrupt or use these signals. 

EW is divided into three (3) major areas:  

  • Electronic Attack: Disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive.
  • Electronic Protection: Preventing a receiver from being jammed or deceived.
  • Electronic Support: Sensing of the electromagnetic spectrum.


- Cybersecurity Landscape

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. These attacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes. Implementing effective cybersecurity measures is particularly challenging today because there are more devices than people, and attackers are becoming more innovative. 

For example, by 2025, it is estimated that there will be more than to 21 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Cybercriminals will continue to use IoT devices to facilitate DDoS attacks. In 2016, the world was introduced to the first “Internet of Things” malware - a strain of malicious software that can infect connected devices such as DVRs, security cameras, and more. 

The malware accessed the devices using default password and usernames. The malware turned the affected devices into a botnet to facilitate a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which aims to overwhelm websites with internet traffic. The attack ended up flooding one of the largest website hosting companies in the world, bringing a variety of major, well-known websites and services to a halt for hours. 

More of our personal lives and business activities are being conducted online than ever, making cybersecurity a key issue of our time. Understanding what the future of cybersecurity is will show you how to make the best use of your resources and stay safe not just today, but tomorrow too.

Regulations like GDPR and CCPA helped make the collection of consumer data and privacy a matter of law instead of just good practice. However, consumers remain skeptical of businesses that continue to put profit ahead of privacy after breaches, like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.


- Cyberterrorism

The term cyberterrorism refers to the use of the Internet in order to perform violent actions that either threaten or result in serious bodily harm or even loss of life. Cyberterrorism acts often aim to achieve political or ideological advantages by means of intimidation, fear and threat. 

Sometimes, the definition of cyberterrorism expands to cover the terrorist activities like intentional disruption of computer networks through using various tools like worms, viruses, phishing activities and various other malicious software and programming scripts. 

As you might have seen in our attempts above, the definition and description of cyberterrorism is highly context dependent and prone to change. Yet, in order to deal with issues caused by hackers and cyberterrorists, we need to come up with a working definition, at least. We can simply define cyberterrorism as attacks on digital assets and/or digitally stored information of an organization that is done for ideological motivations, instead of economic motivations. 

Cyberterrorism can affect or target almost anyone, that is why it is always a good idea to be prepared. If you’d like to make sure that the security posture of your organization is well enough to withstand persistent and/or advanced attacks, do regular check-ups. Regularly test your security measures, detect the vulnerabilities and alleviate them. Moreover, make sure to update your tools, software and firewalls regularly. 

Come up with a crisis plan, let everyone in your cyber security and/or IT team to know what their roles and responsibilities are in the event of crisis. In addition, don’t rely on a single security solution. Always have a back-up plan and back-up measure.


Beautiful Mountains_Colorado_052622A
[Beautiful Mountains, Colorado]

- The Three Key Themes of Cyber Threats Facing The Industry

Every other day we read news related to cybersecurity threats like ransomware, phishing, or IoT-based attacks. Recently, it comes with a whole new level of cybersecurity threats that businesses need to be aware of. In fact, organizations will face cyber threats under three key themes:

  • Disruption: Over-dependence on fragile connectivity will increase the risk of premeditated internet outages that compromise business operations. Cybercriminals will use ransomware to hijack the Internet of Things.
  • Distortion: Spread of misinformation by bots and automated sources will cause compromise of trust in the integrity of information.
  • Deterioration: Rapid advances in smart technologies and conflicting demands posed by evolving national security will negatively impact an enterprise’s ability to control information.


- Cyber Threats Are Constantly Evolving

The cybersecurity threat landscape continues to grow as the attacks and evasion maneuvers of threat actors makes the task of detecting and tracking cyberattacks increasingly challenging. Threat actors rarely use single vector attacks anymore. They are combining different tactics and multiple techniques to achieve their objectives.

Cyber threats are constantly evolving. As recently as 2016, Trojan malware accounted for nearly 50% of all breaches. Today, they are responsible for less than seven percent. That’s not to say that Trojans are any less harmful. Their backdoor and remote-control capabilities are still used by advanced threat actors to conduct sophisticated attacks. 

Staying ahead of evolving threats is a challenge that keeps many IT professionals awake at night. Understanding today’s most important cyber threats is the first step toward protecting any organization from attack.

Cybersecurity is a hot topic for organizations across every industry. Securing networks, hardening systems, and protecting data from cyber threats has become more important than ever, as cyber incidents are on the rise. For example, IoT security focuses on protecting your Internet-enabled devices that connect to each other on wireless networks. IoT security is the safety component tied to the Internet of Things, and it strives to protect IoT devices and networks against cybercrime. 


- Future Cybersecurity

The future of cybersecurity is hard to predict because the industry is constantly evolving in response to the shifting behaviors of cybercriminals and the new attacks they develop. Nobody can tell exactly what the next major cyber threat will be or where it will come from, but experts still have a good idea of the general direction that we’re heading in. 

Although tomorrow is never certain, paying attention to the cybersecurity predictions listed below will help you to future-proof your business and other online activities. So, what is the future of cybersecurity?  

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a core component of all cybersecurity systems.
  • The cybersecurity industry will focus on cyber warfare threats.
  • There’ll be more hackers to deal with.
  • Developing cybersecurity talent becomes essential .


As the bad guys become more sophisticated, we need to prepare for attacks using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and evolutionary computation algorithms. It’s not all bad news, though. 

Technologies like AI and ML have armed cybersecurity companies with the means to confront security challenges, while new privacy laws like California’s CPRA will further bolster a consumer’s right to choose when and where they want to be private.



[More to come ...]



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