Years ago the Stuxnet virus showed the possibility of anonymous “kinetic” attacks in the cyber arena, leading many military and defense analysts to worry that World War III may be carried out with a keyboard.
On Thursday, senior cybersecurity officials from the US and Russia began two-day meetings in Geneva. The US says that the two countries are renewing efforts to prevent rushing into a cyber war “by mistake,” but many wonder what defines a "cyber war," and whether it actually poses a credible risk.
In recent years, America has pushed the boundaries of cyberwarfare while Western media focused on imagined threats from Russian and Chinese hackers. Beginning in 2010, with Operation Olympic Games, the US and their Israeli counterparts released the Stuxnet virus, crippling Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility and demonstrating the potential of "kinetic effects" as a result of cyberwarfare.
Recently, a series of cyberattacks by Iran demonstrated that turnabout is fair play. A federal indictment was issued against several Iranian officials for hackers engaging not only in market manipulation but also attempting to cripple a dam in New York state that, if it had been successful, could have resulted in substantial loss of life and long-term agricultural damage.
With the purported specter of cyber war moving from the realm of science fiction to a leading national security distraction, Sputnik’s Brian Becker sat down on Friday with journalists Dmitry Babich and Declan McCullagh to discuss the cooperative meetings between US and Russian officials and whether the so-called new Cold War has already migrated online.