New Wave of Cyberattacks Against America Imminent: Time to Develop Proactive Strategy

by Eli Mshomi

Countering cyberattacks has long been a vulnerable front of American defense, and once again, a threat of this attack has been prevailing in Washington.

Reportedly, Russian-based hackers could invade the cyber properties of America if Russia perceives that the NATO and American response to Ukraine are detrimental to its foreign ambitions.

The wave of such attacks is supposed to be directed against American electricity systems during the winter, where merciless snowfall already makes some renewable facilities nonfunctional.

As the Department of Homeland Security has warned private and governmental entities to be prepared regarding these attacks, some of the essential facilities have already started witnessing these attacks.

Recently the police department of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was hit by a ransomware attack that disrupted the police operations in the city.

Russia has a history of intervening in America’s digital infrastructure, which increases the likelihood of these attacks.

Recently the news circulated regarding Russia’s possible cyberattack against Ukraine, and immediately a series of such attacks against the Ukrainian government kicked off, resulting in dismantling the working of the state institutions.

Russia Up for Cyber Terrorism: America’s Important Institutions at Risk

Calling it cyber terrorism would not be a faulty approach, as the primary motive of these operations is to create a terror frenzy that could discourage people from living a normal life.

For instance, a cyberattack on one drinking water pipeline can leave the remaining American systems devastated and its users terrorized.

Putting things in order is difficult in a country like America, where more than 55,000 water pipelines are in operation, and the systems are spread all across the country.

And the difficult aspect is that many of these systems have no proper IT-related infrastructure, so connecting them with cyber patrolling systems is next to impossible.

Secondly, securing each and every single pipeline is a politically unpopular approach, as it would require the government to either approve government funding or raise water bills by a significant amount.

Both of these approaches seem out of the question, as approving a spending package from a divided Congress looks difficult at a time when many other social spending measures have been stalled in the Senate.

Third, rising water bills would result in an extra burden on the general public, which would be a tough job for the Biden administration already marred under the political burden of rising inflation.

Securing the important databases of the government populated with crucial intellectual properties is the way to go.

Russian Hackers Know How to Hack American Systems Well

The actual matter of concern for America is that Russian hackers know the ins and outs of American cyberspace, as they have successfully made many attempts to penetrate it in the past as well.

Be it the SolarWinds attack of 2020, Colonial Pipeline ransom attack of 2021, or the 2018 attacks of Russia against the American energy infrastructure, every other attempt of the country gave them some critical insights.

Russia could be looking forward to diverting the attention of America from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and diverting it toward domestic issues.

This they had done already when their hegemonic behavior forced America to forget about its Asia strategy, where some dramatic events have been happening lately.

Even a minor cyberattack can be detrimental for the Biden administration as the country heads toward the midterm election.

 

Final Thoughts

As America is not acting alone against Russia on the Ukraine issue, its European allies are also in trouble.

So all NATO members should immediately develop a counter-offensive cyber strategy to retaliate against any Russian cyber attack with equal force.

As NATO believes in the concept of collective security, it can also include the provision of cyberattacks in its manifesto.

Currently, an attack on one country is considered as an attack on the whole alliance, but it is only limited to physical attacks.

By extending this concept to cyber security, Russian cyberattacks can be countered easily, and America and its allies can get away from Russian cyber aggression.

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