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A New Type of Worm Increases the Threat of Cyber War

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A New Type of Worm Increases the Threat of Cyber War

Cyberwar is here with us and governments are also recognizing the problem. The United Kingdom, for example, have recently considered that attacks on computer networks as one of the most serious threats facing the country. British Home Secretary, Theresa May, said the cyber attacks are a “new and growing” danger and it is believed that the government will spend about $800 million to strengthen the security of government computer networks.

Concern has increased after the appearance of a malicious worm, called Stuxnet that exploits security flaws in various industrial software and may potentially gain some controls on nuclear power plants and factories. Experts agree that for decades there have been attacks on computer systems, but they believe that Stuxnet is the first virus that is capable of damaging infrastructures similar to a conventional war.

The worst situation is when there is no certainty in regard of security and we are in a state of uncertainty. Industrial systems are safer when they are disconnected from the Internet, but Stuxnet proved that with a USB flash drive, exploiting security holes in various programs is possible. Experts believe that the problem is real and growing and we are threatened with catastrophic events.

Unlike conventional wars, there is nothing remotely close to the Geneva Convention in cyberwar. There are no rules or protocols that establish the standards of cyber war. The lack of an international code can be harmful for civilians as attackers may disable data communication systems, banking systems, the electricity supply, water supplies, food distribution and health services. The intentional infrastructure destruction and denial of service attacks can cause serious harm to humans, systems and even environment.

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