What Is Cyberwarfare?

April 28, 2023
David Sunnyside


Cyberwarfare refers to the use of computer networks and Internet communications in order to cause significant harm, such as disrupting essential infrastructure. Cyberwarfare can also cause lasting harm by infiltrating lives through hacking or theft of data.

The United States Department of Defense defines cyberwarfare as military operations conducted online with the intent to cause death or property damage, disruption of communications networks or forcing adversary armies into missing critical military actions.

Cyberattacks may be launched either by nation-states against another, or non-state actors like terrorist organizations and private companies against each other. Cyberattacks can be carried out with the purpose of weakening defenses of an opponent nation-state military and gathering intelligence on plans and activities undertaken by that particular country.

Malware, phishing, DDoS and ransomware are the four primary cyber attacks. Malware attacks utilize malicious software to infiltrate systems and steal sensitive information while DDoS attacks utilize huge volumes of traffic to try and overwhelm target computer networks with so much that their performance becomes severely degraded or even crashes completely.

Nation-states also utilize cyber espionage to gain information on their enemies. This may involve botnet or spear-fishing attacks which allow hackers to gain entry to an adversary system before extracting critical intelligence.

Cyber espionage and cyberwarfare can often be confused, yet they have important distinctions. One significant distinction is that cyberwarfare attacks usually aim to damage a nation-state's military while espionage attacks tend to involve gathering additional intelligence.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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