February 23, 1967 the Star Trek episode called “A Taste of Armageddon” told the story of two planets that had been at war for 500 years. Neither planet showed signs of war’s destruction because their war was simulated by computer. Anyone “killed” in the simulated attacks had 24 hours to report to the disintegrator where their lives were cleanly extinguished: people died but things lived. The story was far-fetched in 1967 but not so much today.
Cyber warfare began as cyber-spying; information is essential when dealing with enemies! Computer viruses, or worms, have been used for years to steal information, destroy information or to slow down other computers.
But then, early this month, David Sanger reported in the New York Times that the US and Israel joined forces to create the Cyber-worm called Stuxnet. Stuxnet was planted in Iran’s nuclear enrichment computer system. It successfully impeded the development of Iran’s nuclear capabilities by sending erroneous commands to plant equipment and hiding the feedback from those machines. It damaged the plants centrifuges.
“Somebody crossed the Rubicon,” said Michael V. Hayden, former head of the CIA. According to Hayden, this was the first time a worm was used in a physically destructive way.
Have we opened up Pandora’s Box? In the Stuxnet case Cyber warfare replaced the mess of physical warfare. But similar logic could be used to destroy power grids. Similar logic could be used to crash passenger planes. Similar logic could be used to turn lights green while their corresponding cross-street light is still green. In reality, Cyber warfare can be very bloody!
The United States, Israel, Russia, China, Great Britain, Iran, North Korea, Syria and the Philippines have Cyber warfare capabilities. Most countries are implementing Cyber security to protect their infrastructure. Cyber armies containing aggressors (Cyber worm creators) and/or defenders (Cyber security) are forming.
Physical size doesn’t matter when it comes to cyber armies: education, knowledge matters!
Our country is wasting its best natural resource, the minds of its citizens. Education can no longer be cost prohibitive. Why limit education to those wealthy enough to afford the hefty cost of college. This penny-wise attitude limits the number of citizens available for the best USA Cyber army possible