Stuxnet and the Growth of Cyberwarfare.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Stuxnet and the Growth of Cyberwarfare.

  1. I enjoyed reading your post since it gave a good insight into how cyberwarfare could lead to actual physical warfare if Stuxnet is used to bypass certain systems. Tips for improvement though, I’d recommend giving an explanation of what Stuxnet exactly is – I only found out that it was a malicious computer worm by doing a quick Google search. You did include the fact that it could be used to ‘bypass digital safety systems’, but the small addition of what it is exactly would be beneficial to a reader who knew little about this particular topic. If you’re interested, here’s a little history about the worm: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/the-world's-first-digital-weapon-stuxnet/7926298

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  2. It’s great that you do not only look at the aspect of security, but also a bigger thing, economy. It’d be great if you can specify the consequence of cyber warfare. Politics and diplomacy seem to be most effected as it directly related to national defense but it turns out to be the economy, rated as most impacted (http://www.defensetech.org/2008/01/16/the-impact-of-a-cyber-war/). It is also said that the impact could be $3 trillion in lost productivity and growth globally by 2020. (http://www.techrepublic.com/article/cyberattacks-fallout-could-cost-the-global-economy-3-trillion-by-2020/)

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  3. Hi Sam,

    I liked how you began your post by mentioning several historical incidents which set the foundation for cold war as well as cyberwar. You also made a clear introduction of Stuxnet and how it operates and I am surprised to know that it is ‘a weapon of mass destruction’ as you said.
    The case of US security network provided a good example of the effect of cyberwar as a powerful country can also suffer significantly.
    My only recommendation is that maybe you should include one example of how cyberwarfare can affect economies as readers can refer to its significant influence because economies are really big in scale.
    This source provides 5 facts that explain the threats of cyberwarfare, one of which relates to economies which I think you might take a look.
    http://time.com/3928086/these-5-facts-explain-the-threat-of-cyber-warfare/

    Hope to read more from you.
    Cuong.

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