A Virtual Battlefield

March 6, 2013
Cyber warfare is an oncoming threat that will result in devastation. Cyber weapons can seriously hurt a country, and cause chaos that will match Pearl Harbor. Picture this- the click of a mouse could disable air traffic control screens, explode fuel refineries, steal valuable information, derail trains, and fry power grids. All capabilities of a cyberattack. And the bad news is the United States is not as prepared as it should be (for this new kind of warfare), and it’s happening right now.

I can’t believe that the United States’ cybersecurity isn’t faring that well. We have known of the threat for a long time, yet defensive measures haven’t been taken. We seriously need to end this threat-our whole nation is at risk. Of course, CYBERCOM is a good start, but there really should be more members, which would result in a larger task force, and a stronger cyber defense.
Not all cyberweapons are on a nation crippling scale, however. There have been some attacks on Google and Western Energy Companies, and investigators believe China was the aggressor, and Google declared Cyber War on China. Don’t believe that Google, of all companies, got cyberattacked? Check out http://gpsanalysis.com/?p=41
But, of course, some nation-scale warfare has happened, to the United States, too! In April of 2009, cyber spies infiltrated the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter Project, an approximate three-billion dollar project, and were able to escape with huge amounts of data that was related to the aircraft’s design. Again, officials point to China. Ok…maybe Google, but the Pentagon got cyberattacked? Check again! http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-amp-space/article/2009-04/hackers-breach-joint-strike-fighter-program
Although China seems to be the most active offensive cyber attacker, America isn’t just a passive victim. In 2010 Israel and the United States hatched the Stuxnet virus, which targeted Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities and basically destroyed thousands of centrifuges that were used to purify Uranium. Another cyberweapon hatched by the United States was the Flame virus. This virus seeped through the computers of Iran’s high-ranking officials, and collect information. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/computer_malware/stuxnet/index.html

Iran has been receiving some heat from the United States and Israel ever since they began their nuclear weapons program. Yet Iran has been on the offensive side too. A cyberattack shut down RasGas, a producer of liquid natural gas in Qatar, and destroyed valuable computer data at Saudi Aramco- the world’s most valuable company. US intelligence confirmed that the aggressor was Iran. Many more cyberattacks have happened around the world though. I’m not going to sit here typing every single cyberattack. Hopefully you get my main point- Cyber warfare is happening RIGHT NOW.
Although cyber warfare can really only frustrate and confuse temporarily, a nation can not win a war if the other side has it. That is why not only offensive measures, but defensive measures, are important. Blocking a cyberweapon from destroying data could cost you the outcome of a war, and bring victory to your side. But cyber defense is hard. Now, the enemy is in virtual space and an attack could come from anywhere. How could we possible set a good defense for that?
The United States is scrambling to get good new Cyber Warfare tasks. U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) is America’s Cyber offensive and Cyber defensive military command. CYBERCOM has many tasks that can detect and patch security holes as well as creating new network systems for the military’s computer systems. CYBERCOM engages in offensive warfare and work on cyber weapons that can be combined with Special Operations Missions, or airstrikes. This is the first step to the protection of our great nation, and will prevail over our enemies when it gets the support it needs.
New warfare means new tactics. I think that education is really the best way to go with this oncoming threat. Educate the citizens through websites and other essays like this one, and they will respond. Some will understand computer code, some won’t. But that can change through education. Another advantage is that physical strength is no longer a requirement- and we can face this cyber security threat head-on, to protect our nation and its citizens.
Again, cyber warfare is happening right now, and is a serious threat. We need to prepare for this new weapon, and prevent our nation from another Pearl Harbor.

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Babycoolidge This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm
YEAH! 336 VIEWS! I EVEN POSTED IT AFTER I POSTED MY ESSAY ON CHILD ABUSE, AND IT HAS MORE VIEWS!!!! CHILD ABUSE ESSAY: TeenInk.com/opinion/social_issues_civics/article/518088/A-Dangerous-Cycle-Essay-on-Child-Abuse/
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