What is Cyber Warfare and What Can You do to Protect Your Business?

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The future of cyber warfare is filled with uncertainty, especially right now with what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine. State governments are putting up extra defenses in fear of what might occur due to the war overseas, even if they aren’t directly involved. For some, this style of warfare is confusing and even unheard of. So, what is cyber warfare, what happens if your business gets attacked, and how do you protect your critical business data?

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What is Cyber Warfare?

Cyber warfare involves a lot more than your average cyber-attack on a local computer. When entire nation-states or international organizations are against each other, one form of attack that they can (and do) use, is cyber warfare. This involves digital attacks against each side’s cyberinfrastructure. Some attacks are meant to be visible and public as part of their tactic, but others happen without anybody realizing. In fact, the visible ones are usually a distraction for even more dangerous attacks happening at the same time. These attacks are typically done by “hacker groups” that some believe are hired by the organizations, but some are rogue, claiming they are defending their countries. When these groups declare cyberwar themselves, it brings a much different dynamic to a war, where it’s not just the government that makes decisions any more. It also can be extremely difficult to track down where the attacks originated from, as someone’s home computer could be hacked to then send out the attacks without them knowing. Some targets of cyber warfare include banks, internet providers, government websites, weapons manufacturers, gas supplies, and many more. A lot about cyber warfare is based on speculation, as it’s still quite a misunderstood practice, especially when governments are involved. Listed below are some known types of cyber warfare:

  1. DDoS: Flooding a website with traffic to shut down the servers.
  2. Sabotage: Includes insider threats like negligent employees.
  3. Electrical Power Grid: Disabling critical systems could cause thousands of deaths.
  4. Propaganda: Exposing embarrassing truths or spreading lies about the country being attacked.
  5. Economic Disruption: Attacking computers and networks of economic facilities.
  6. Surprise Cyberattack: Massive strikes that catch the enemy off guard.
  7. Espionage: Spying to reveal secrets and sensitive information.


Cyber Warfare in 2022

The reason we are discussing cyber warfare so heavily right now is because of recent events occurring between Russia and Ukraine. This crisis began in February of 2022 and quickly entered the cyber world. Since Russia has a known history of cyber-attacks, they were expected to begin cyber warfare the moment conflict started between the two countries. Additionally, the West has been preparing and expecting Russian cyberwarfare even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, based on previous claims and launches. For example, in 2021, the Colonial Pipeline (a major oil system that carries gas and jet fuel to the U.S.) was hacked by Russian-based cybercriminals, requesting 5 million dollars in exchange for the return of the data. The U.S. government has recently been trying to warn and prepare companies for the very real possibility that Russia could launch cyberattacks at any moment during the current war. The most recent large attack on Ukraine was in 2017, named NotPetya, credited to the Russian military. It was a mock ransomware virus and wiped data from banks, airports, government officials, and energy firms. Although Russia has not hit Ukraine with any large attacks on important infrastructure during this war to date, both countries have been launching smaller operations against each other in the past few weeks. With this recent cyber warfare activity, it’s important to learn as much as we can about the practice now, before it’s too late.


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How Could Cyber Warfare Affect My Business?

There are many motivators for cyber warfare attacks, and your business is not exempt from all of them. As we mentioned before, sometimes hackers use random businesses to send the virus or hack through to the actual target, almost like a disguise. So, even if you think you have no reason for hackers to attack your organization, that might not be the case. Here are the five major motivators behind cyber warfare:

  1. Hacktivism (promoting an ideology)
  2. Civil (weaken civil infrastructure)
  3. Military (weaken an enemy’s military)
  4. Nonprofit Research (stealing information)
  5. Income Generation (financial benefit)

If your business is not properly prepared for a multitude of cyber-attacks, your research, data, money, infrastructure, etc. could be stolen, corrupted, or held for ransom at any moment.

How to Protect Against Cyber Warfare

Even the idea of cyber warfare can make your stomach turn, but doing everything possible to prepare for its arrival can help ease your mind at night. To protect your business against cyber warfare, your organization must have several different layers of data security. There are three different time periods that require different solutions, before, during, and after an attack. See the U.S Department of Homeland Security for a complete list of actions you can take yourself to avoid or recover from a cyberattack and also sign up for national security alerts. If you want to have peace of mind knowing your data is secure and that you have a team of experts behind you, having an IT partner is the best choice. Not only could they offer industry-leading intelligence and support, but they could also present solutions that will bring you to the ultimate goal of data security.

Data Protection with DSM

If you are still searching for the perfect IT partner, here is why DSM could be your ideal fit. We have a variety of solutions that work together to bring you complete peace of mind, and the ability to focus on your business without worrying if your data is secure. We can help you evaluate your current systems of data protection, ensuring overall business continuity through backup and recovery solutions. To learn more about how DSM can help with your data protection plan, contact an expert today!

Get in Touch With a DSM Expert




What Russia’s Ongoing Cyberattacks in Ukraine Suggest About the Future of Cyber Warfare (hbr.org)
‘Catastrophic’ cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia hasn’t happened (yet), experts say | Cyberwar | The Guardian
cyberwar | Britannica
The Russia-Ukraine cyberwar may have already begun. Is the United States next? - Vox
What Is Cyber Warfare? | Fortinet
Latest cyber warfare news | The Daily Swig (portswigger.net)
OP-CYBE180007 1..15 (silverchair.com)
Volunteers sign up to help in cyberwars between Russia and Ukraine (cnbc.com)
How is Anonymous attacking Russia? Disabling and hacking websites (cnbc.com)
Leaked ransomware documents show Conti helping Putin from the shadows | Ars Technica
Biden signs cyber incident reporting bill into law - The Record by Recorded Future
Ukraine Tech Startups Pivot From Software Code to Rescue Plans - WSJ
Cyberattack hits Ukrainian banks and government websites (cnbc.com)

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