In 2022, only moments before Russian troops invaded, Ukraine was hit by new malware that was specifically designed to wipe data, which begs the question: Is cyber war already here? In the first 10 weeks of this year alone, over 150 cyber attacks were launched against Ukraine, including government websites that were attacked remotely. Even more extremely, in March, there were over 6 billion potential cyberattacks worldwide in a single day, with Russia, the US and Ukraine being the most targeted.
Experts say that Ukraine is likely being used as a testing ground, as cyber attacks have grown over time and both the US and the EU have provided support for their defense. In fact, 50% of US tech execs say that state sponsored cyber-warfare is their biggest threat. Cyber war has ties to both physical assets and security, meaning that there is a large amount of potential damage at stake with these attacks especially after the pandemic. Despite these grievances, cyber attacks differ from cyber wars in that they are less devastating and are likely only for testing larger weapons. Studies show that 93% of Americans fear cyber war, and only 19% are completely confident in the government’s capability to prevent it. The US, Japan, and China sit at the top of the most cyber-secure countries, being most protected from common financial services attacks and business network attacks.
While reports show that Americans are most afraid of losing access to finances, cell service, and running water, there are already measures that people can take to protect themselves. Actions such as software updates, backing up documents, and changing important passwords are only a few of the several current effective methods. Borders are blurred and the battle is complex with cyber war, which is why effectively protecting oneself is becoming a top priority.