Cyber warfare is a form battle that is carried out over the internet. Although slightly misleading because it does not resemble warfare in the traditional sense, it is time and data instead of flesh and blood that is being targeted. The term refers to hackers whether they be "hacktivists" (activists pushing their political message by way of online assaults) or general "black hat hackers" (hackers who cause disturbances online for a variety of reasons).

In living in a world that is slowly manifesting itself online, declaring this network to stand for virtues like freedom and refusal of government control, it is curious to note that much of this action is strangely political. Furthermore, one must consider that as more and more services are being connected to the internet, each person is becoming more and more vulnerable to being deeply affected by these attacks. Several years ago, Yahoo was attacked by a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, slowing the massive search engine to a crawl. Later, in the heat of the Gaza strip battle in Israel, multiple hackers from each side started campaigns of defacing public websites associated with each side. Palestinian hackers would deface a national Israeli bank's site. In retaliation, Israeli hackers were determined to attack a religious Muslim Palestinian website, placing a star of David on the front page.

One must consider that those events happened in 2001. Today, in 2009, there is very little of our infrastructure that is not connected to the internet in some way. As it turns out, a recent investigation by the United States government found many traces of Chinese hackers laying down steps to take out the entire US power grid on command!

Many of these events are simply swept under the rug, not reported on national news because people would not know how to react if they knew that the very pillars that our comfortable lives rest on, with banks that hold our account information, telecommunications networks that connect us, and even fridges that have web browsers on them, are all vulnerable to one foul sweep.

1. Denning, Dorothy. 2001. "Cyberwarriors: Activists and terrorists turn to cyberspace." Harvard International Review 23 (2):70-5.
2. Auty, C. (2004). Political hacktivism: tool of the underdog or scourge of cyberspace. Aslib proceedings
3. Taylor, Paul A. (2005). From hackers to hacktivists: speed bumps on the global superhighway? New Media & Society 7(5):625-46.
4. Department of Defence Report - Countercyberintelligence
5. Report by Reuters: US may be vulnerable to cyberattack through power grid
6. BBC: Spies infiltrate US power grid
7. Cyberspace and the changing nature of warfare
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License