|A mess of characters - found on corrupted dumb terminals (1)|
An article in Ars Technica asserts that cyber-weapons are relatively cheap to produce. As the Stuxnet virus demonstrated, cyber-warfare can also be effective at damaging a country's military and energy infrastructures. Additionally, nations may be able to launch malware attacks against each other without getting caught. If that is the case, as the CNET article implies, the United States might be able to cut military expenses and save the lives of American soldiers if it were to focus on further developing its cyber-program. What is more, the U.S. would run less risk of incurring the wrath of the international community if it relied on covert cyber technologies to destroy enemy military installations instead of missiles and bombs.
As the CNET article notes, the United States is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attacks by other nations or terrorist groups. Countries like China almost certainly utilize malware to steal information from the U.S. and will continue to do so. More worrisome, a nation or terrorist group that is not able to strike at the U.S. with conventional weapons may be able to create a computer virus that will damage key American installations. It is also possible that a hostile entity can decipher a U.S. sponsored computer virus and use that information to create its own cyber-weapon.
However, a Slate article asserts that Americans should not worry overmuch that a nation or terrorist group will use a computer virus to damage American military or civilian targets. It notes that these types of cyber-weapons are cost prohibitive for all but the wealthiest countries. Further, a hostile entity would be hesitant to use a computer virus to cripple an American facility because it would be afraid that the U.S. would respond with a devastating conventional attack. Slate might be correct in its analysis of the current situation; however, a cyber-terrorist action might become more likely in the future if the technology becomes cheaper.
While the United States might benefit by using computer viruses to accomplish its military objectives, it should proceed with caution. There are a lot of unknowns with regard to cyber-warfare.
1. Photographer/Creator: Anonymous
Date: October 13, 2006
Title/Description: A mess of characters that would be found on corrupted dumb terminals with green
Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Author's notes (click on the title or caption to see the
photo, credits, and permissions).
-- Anthony Hopper
#technology #computers #Internet #freedom #rights #privacy #opinion