Cyberwarfare and national economies

Cyberwarfare is not just a standard threat in the dark woods of cyber threats. It is much more serious than that.

It is no secret that big and key strategic businesses are the targets of very sophisticated cyber threats. Many of them are, not surprisingly, state-sponsored.

Indeed, such businesses lie at the crosshairs of governments, national intelligence agencies, and even terroristic groups.

In this piece, we aim to investigate are effects of cyberwarfare on national economies and how nations could protect themselves.

Cyberwarfare: what is it?

First, let’s define what cyberwarfare is. Cyberwarfare refers to those activities carried out by a nation-state or international organizations meant to damage another nation’s infrastructures.

Moreover, we may extend this definition to key strategic businesses’ digital infrastructure. These may operate in defense or energy sectors, for instance.

In any case, these businesses concur to the proper defense of a country, and they are vital as a result. Therefore, it is highly convenient that cyberwarfare actors aim at those private businesses strategic to the state.

A peculiar characteristic of cyberwarfare is that it is much cheaper than traditional warfare. The threat actor needs a hardware infrastructure, some research, and an Internet connection to wage cyberwar.

Thus, states could save on armies, logistics, and weaponry to attack an adversary. Moreover, cyberwarfare is politically risk-free and asymmetric: attacks are anonymous, so is the originator of the threat.

The damage

We have defined it, but how can it damage national economies? First, there are different types of cyberwarfare. We list the most common ones:

  1. Espionage
  2. Sabotage
  3. Propaganda

And last but not least,

  • Infrastructure attacks

All these types of attacks well suit to attack a given strategic economic player, and thus, the national economy and the state.

You may list the recent Sunburst cyberattack under this category, as well as those against vaccine producers.

Finally, the types of attacks and the techniques involved are similar to those employed by common cybercriminals. However, they tend to be more disruptive.

Conclusion: cyberwarfare and national economies

States and international organizations should take cyberwarfare seriously, both in times of peace and of war. In many respects, they are already doing that.

For instance, since 2010, NATO organizes the Locked Shields wargame as a yearly exercise to meet this threat.

The European Union holds similar initiatives. Nations brace for mitigating this kind of threat. Concerning Italy, the government has activated the Nucleus for Cyber Security.

Click on the CSIRT website for more information.

Wanna know more? Visit our dedicated blog on the 2020 state of cyberwars here, then!

Do not forget that Telsy offers state-of-the-art cybersecurity both for institutional and business clients. Visit our site for more info.