"Warfare is constantly evolving along with advances in technology. In the past few years, and especially in recent months, it has become apparent that the cyber world is the next theatre of battle. One only has to look at statements that the Ministry of Defence and Treasury have come under cyber-attack; the development and release of the Stuxnet virus; the large-scale hacking attack against Sony; or the Lulzsec hacking collective’s ongoing attacks against everyone from computer game companies to the CIA and US Senate. The message is clear: cyber-attack needs to be a significant factor in any defence strategy.
Despite the 2010 National Security Review making cyber-crime and cyber-security a priority, there is still no clear agreed definition of what a cyber-attack entails. For the purposes of this discussion, a cyber-attack is defined as an electronic attack on a computer network or system for the purposes of theft, espionage or denial of service.
New battle lines and new enemies
This represents a shift in battle lines. While warfare has become more fluid since the 20th century, there is generally still understood to be a front line where military forces engage. With cyber-attacks, the front line can be literally anywhere: a server in a forward base is as legitimate a target as a computer in an obscure data centre in the Outer Hebrides. Government bodies, industry (including nuclear power generation), utilities, economies and even the personal systems of relevant individuals all become opportunities for cyber-attackers: indeed, given varying levels of security a remote target is likely to be easier to attack."
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