With the increasing amount of cyber attacks that happen every day, it is only a matter of time before cyber warfare becomes potentially threatening. In the recent wake of the alleged election hacking from Russia, these types of potential threats have become a much more prominent possibility.
As a result of the election hacking, a committee was called together which included Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, and US Cyber Command Director and NSA, Admiral Michael S. Rogers. According to a joint statement from the committee to the Senate Armed Forces, “As of late 2016, more than 30 nations are developing offensive cyber attack capabilities. The proliferation of cyber capabilities coupled with new warfighting technologies will increase the incidence of standoff and remote operations, especially in the initial phases of conflict.”
Russia and China as Cyber Threat Actors
President-elect Trump has disputed that there was any sort of election hacking from Russia, and asserts his fair win. Although, in the statement, the committee labeled Russia as a “full-scope cyber actor.” They elaborated by stating that Russian cyber operations have targeted things such as critical infrastructure, government organizations, political organizations, think tanks and more.
Aside from Russia, the committee expounded upon other countries that have conducted cyber attacks upon the US. One of such was China, in which they stated that Beijing has continued to perform cyber espionage upon United States government, companies, and allies. Other countries particularly mentioned included North Korea and Iran as well. The committee also touched upon attacks or threats from cyber criminals, and terrorists. In regard to the referenced actors, they mention that one of the biggest counterintelligence threats to the U.S is the development and increasing amounts of advanced and disruptive technologies, much of which was previously thought impossible.
In closure, the committee made clear the fact that they do not see the risk of cyber threats lessening. They stated in their conclusion, “In summary, the breadth of cyber threats to U.S. national and economic security has become increasingly diverse, sophisticated, and dangerous. Over the next five years, technological change will only accelerate the intersection of cyber and physical devices, creating new risks.” Ideally, this joint statement from US intelligence will prompt the implementation of proper security measures to defend against any potential threats.