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Cyber-weapons on the Dark Web

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Cyber-war is more concerning to today's policymakers and decision-makers than cybercrime. Cyber-terrorists and state-sponsored hackers are the key actors in cyber-war, who not only attack websites to deface them and steal Facebook accounts, but also compromise and destroy our country's economic security.

A malware agent used in a cyberattack for military, paramilitary, or intelligence purposes is usually referred to as a cyberweapon. Data theft and electronic or physical destruction are examples of cyber weapons. While a cyberweapon nearly always causes direct or indirect financial harm to the target organization, direct financial gain for the sponsor is not the primary goal of this type of agent.

A cyber-army is a group of troops with advanced cyber talents who are extremely competent in information technology. Countries should use cyber-armies to maintain national cybersecurity. China is ranked first in cyber defensive power, followed by the Netherlands and France, then the United States and Canada.

According to the researchers, the United States leads in cyber offensive, cyber norms influence, and cyber intelligence. Teams at Cyber Command are allocated to specific adversaries — including Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China — and have worked with the intelligence community for years to get access to digital networks. Cyberweapons are stealth weapons that, like any computer code, are written in zeros and ones. They have the ability to infiltrate entire networks as well as infect individual PCs. They have the ability to block communication systems, confound enemy signals, and stop military attacks before they happen, all without the flash and bang of traditional weapons of war.

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Although cyber warfare is a new phenomenon in its current form, the notion is as old as warfare itself. Rivals used to try to physically interrupt their opponent's communication networks in the old days as well. Similarly, using all available means, well-thought-out strategies were used to gain access to information systems and develop mechanisms of misinformation in enemy ranks.

Humans are becoming increasingly reliant on technology due to rapid advancements in communication tool applications. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the efficacy of these technical techniques was put to the test. Even the most advanced states with cutting-edge medical facilities were crippled for months, forcing everyone from executives to administrative staff to work digitally from their homes.

Furthermore, the idea of cyber threats has muddled the internal and external dimensions of national security, allowing less powerful state and non-state actors to increase their influence efforts. One of the causes that have fostered the formation of hybrid threats or made irregular warfare more appealing is the shifting nature of traditional ideas of armed conflict and war, because these may not motivate military action.

Due to its great capacity to disrupt communication infrastructure, cyberwarfare is now regarded as a more appropriate tactic for offensive action against a rival. This is particularly risky because it has the potential to immobilize the target system for the duration of the disruption. Highly sensitive defense installations, such as command and control systems, missile-firing sites, air defense systems, and, more importantly, strategic decision-making mechanisms, may be included in these systems.

The race for space dominance, which began in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik-I by the then-Soviet Union and ended in 1958 with the launch of the United States' first manned space voyage, was perhaps to attain improved connectedness, integration, and networking in the decades to come. However, knowledge gained via advancements in the fields of information and space technology is now being used in a bad way to disrupt the same communication and integration.

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State institutions have become increasingly vulnerable as a result of the use of cyber warfare as part of a strategy to disrupt enemy lines of communication and cause harm to their prospective capabilities. Personal security, which is an important component of human security, is also vulnerable to disruptions in communication, location, and financial activities, to name a few examples. As a result, international and national organizations must establish legal procedures to ensure that cyber warfare does not violate an individual's rights or deprive him or her of his or her financial assets.

Cyber-warfare tools used by the military could eventually fall into the hands of hackers. According to Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock, in a few years, state-developed cyberweapons will be available on the darknet, a hidden area of the internet that cannot be accessed using search engines like Google.

"In the physical world, that is a significant problem—we have weapons that are used on the battlefield today and will be utilized by organized crime groups tomorrow. The same is true for digital weapons that are currently in use by the military, have been created by the military, and will be available to criminals tomorrow."

Ransomware, in which hackers lock down a company's computer systems and demand a ransom payment to regain control, is one of the most common cyberweapons. Cyberwar has long been a source of fear for governments around the world, but it has resurfaced in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Cyberwar has long been a source of fear for governments around the world, but it has resurfaced in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Moscow has been blamed for a number of cyberattacks that occurred before and during its military invasion of Ukraine, but it has always denied the allegations. Meanwhile, Ukraine has solicited the assistance of volunteer hackers from all around the world to aid in its defense against Russian aggression. A "significant number" of cyberattacks go unnoticed. "It's not just law enforcement that demands we develop bridges between our silos, the islands of information," says the author. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Cybersecurity Outlook study, the number of cyberattacks worldwide more than doubled in 2021. According to the research, ransomware remains the most common sort of assault, with firms being targeted 270 times each year on average. Critical energy infrastructure and supply lines are being jeopardized by cyberattacks.



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Microsoft admits Sony has has ‘better’ exclusive games

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Microsoft has recently admitted that its rival, Sony, has “better quality” games than Xbox in a filing with UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The assertion was made on October 31, but the document was recently made public, Eurogamer noted.

Microsoft elaborated its stance, saying that Sony was “the dominant console provider” and ” a powerful game publisher”. It explained that “Sony is roughly equivalent in size to Activision and nearly double the size of Microsoft’s game publishing business.”

Read: Global regulators to target crypto platforms after FTX crash

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Comparing data, Microsoft wrote in the filing that Sony had five times as many of their 280 exclusive first- and third-party titles, on PlayStation. Besides just owning franchises like God of War and Spider-Man, Sony has signed deals with third-party publishers for exclusive rights to games.

Microsoft also claimed that console exclusives accounted for a higher percentage of global game sales for Sony than their own company. The company detailed review scores for PlayStation and Xbox, saying “the average Metacritic score for Sony’s top 20 exclusive games in 2021 was 87/100, against 80/100 for Xbox”.

CMA is conducting an in-depth investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which has raised concerns by Sony, particularly over the franchise Call of Duty, which could be made exclusive to Xbox only, if the deal goes through.

 





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Netflix is working on a ‘brand-new AAA PC game’

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Netflix is currently hiring game directors and engineers to work on a “brand-new AAA PC game” at its new Los Angeles games studio.

The project has yet to be announced by the streaming platform itself. However, as per a job listing spotted by Mobilegamer.biz, Netflix needs a game director who “will be the creative leader of one of Netflix’s first generation of internally developed original games”.

 Apart from multiple job listings, there are not many details available regarding the new project.

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Read Global regulators to target crypto platforms after FTX crash

The digital platform has previously launched some games, but they were specifically suited for mobile phones. While many users are unaware of the games on Netflix, the platform plans to venture into PC gaming and expand its audience.

 

 





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Global regulators to target crypto platforms after FTX crash

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LONDON:

The crash of FTX exchange has injected greater urgency into regulating the crypto sector and targeting such ‘conglomerate’ platforms will be the focus for 2023, the new chair of global securities watchdog IOSCO said in an interview.

Jean-Paul Servais said regulating crypto platforms could draw on principles from other sectors which handle conflicts of interest, such as at credit rating agencies and compilers of market benchmarks, without having to start from scratch.

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Cryptoassets like bitcoin have been around for years but regulators have resisted jumping in to write new rules.

But the implosion at FTX, which left an estimated one million creditors facing losses totalling billions of dollars, will help change that, Servais told Reuters.

“The sense of urgency was not the same even two or three years ago. There are some dissenting opinions about whether crypto is a real issue at the international level because some people think that it’s still not a material issue and risk,” Servais said.

“Things are changing and due to the interconnectivity between different types of businesses, I think it’s now important that we are able to start a discussion and that’s where we are going.”

IOSCO, which coordinates rules for G20 countries and others, has already set out principles for regulating stablecoins, but now the focus is turning to platforms which trade in them.

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In mainstream finance there is functional separation between activities like broking, trading, banking services and issuance, with each having its own set of conduct rules and safeguards.

“Is it the case for the crypto market? I would say most of the time not,” Servais said.

Crypto ‘conglomerates’ like FTX have emerged, performing perform multiple roles such as brokerage services, custody, proprietary trading, issuance of tokens all under a single roof that give rise to conflicts of interest, Servais said.

“For investor protection reasons, there is a need to provide additional clarity to these crypto markets markets through targeted guidance in applying IOSCO’s principles to crypto assets,” Servais said.

“We intend to publish consultations report on these matters in the first half of 2023,” he added.

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Madrid-based IOSCO, or International Organization of Securities Commissions, is an umbrella body for market watchdogs like the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States, Bafin in Germany, Japan’s Financial Services Agency, and the UK Financial Conduct Authority, who all commit to applying the body’s recommendations.

The European Union’s new markets in cryptoassets or MiCA framework is an “interesting starting point” for developing global guidance as it focuses on supervision of crypto operators, said Servais, who also chairs Belgium’s financial regulator FSMA.

“I think that the world is changing. We know there is some space for developing new standards about supervision of this kind of crypto conglomerates. There is an obvious necessity,” Servais said.





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