In 1962 tensions between the US and the Soviet Union escalated to the highest throughout the Cold War, with the Cuban Missile Crisis to be the closest the two superpowers came to nuclear warfare. Following the Atomic Bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima concern throughout pop-culture and state security of nuclear warfare increased throughout the Cold War. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union nuclear tensions eased to some extent.
With the growth of Internet technologies for national economies and security, the move from nuclear warfare to cyberwarfare may increase as state economies becoming reliant on digital networks. Stuxnet showed a glimpse of cyberwarfare potential, infiltrating Iranian centrifuges within the Nantanz Nuclear Facility. Designed by a team of engineers with two specific ‘payloads,’ the first to slowly crack the centrifuges which eventually leads to the explosion of the centrifuge. The other being the cascades which hold the centrifuges and manipulating valves. Importantly Stuxnet’s true ability is to bypass digital safety systems, allowing for the potential to blow up any particular target. Thus making it a weapon of mass destruction through dismantling of national industries.
This isn’t a standalone incident. With the United States security network breached a multitude of times, resulting in the loss of thousands of security files such as weapon blue prints, surveillance data and military plans. Military capability relies on communication with informational technology providing the framework for US operations – logistical support, real time communication and strategy, command and control of national and international forces.
The anonymity and lack of raw materials associated with cyberwarfare makes it an attractive investment for state security and military interests. Rather than concern in tangible weaponry such as nuclear weapons, investment in intangible weaponry ability to impact economies may become increasingly common.