07389289.pdf - FEATURE CYBERSECURITY Interventions in Cyberspace Status and Trends Jawwad A Shamsi FAST-National University of Computer Emerging

07389289.pdf - FEATURE CYBERSECURITY Interventions in...

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18 IT Pro January/February 2016 P ublis h ed by t h e I E E E C o m pu te r S o ciet y 1520-9202/16/$33.00 © 2016 IEEE Jawwad A. Shamsi, FAST-National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences, Pakistan Sherali Zeadally, University of Kentucky Zafar Nasir, FAST-National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences, Pakistan Cyberinterventions such as attacks and exploits can severely affect critical infrastructures and people’s everyday activities. In this context, we must understand the dimensions and scope of cyberattacks and assess measures to enhance cybersystem security. R ecent advances in computing, network- ing, hardware, and software technolo- gies have led to their deployment in many of our critical infrastructures, such as power plants, air traffic control centers, water management systems, and banking sys- tems. Today, these infrastructures constitute the backbone of many nations’ economies. As a re- sult of our fundamental reliance on these infra- structures, we have also witnessed an increasing number of threats and attacks on them over the years, all with the same goal—to disrupt citizens’ daily lives. However, security vulnerabilities and threats aren’t restricted to critical infrastructure. Interventions in cyberspace can also disrupt cor- porate and business operations, which can have disastrous effects. 1 On a global scale, cyberattacks could also lead to cyberconflicts that involve a series of cyberattacks between nation-states and their enemies. In this article, we provide an overview of dif- ferent methods and modes of interventions in cyberspace and analyze their offensive and de- fensive aspects. In addition, we emphasize the link between cyberconflicts in a global scenario and highlight the need for global cooperation to better govern and manage cyberspace. Understanding Cyberinterventions Defined broadly, cyberintervention refers to the act of intervening in another entity’s cyberspace. Because cyberspace is utilized to offer services and manage operations, intervention can result in harmful effects such as disruption, disturbance, Interventions in Cyberspace: Status and Trends FEATURE: CYBERSECURITY
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computer.org/ ITPro 19 and espionage. The impact of intervention de- pends on many factors, including the operation or service being targeted, the mode of interven- tion, the method being used, and the defensive measures the target entity has adopted against the intervention. Acts and Actors There are two modes of intervention in cyber- space: cyberattacks and cyberexploitation . 2 A cyber- attack refers to “deliberate actions against data, software, or hardware in computer systems or networks. The actions may destroy, disrupt, de- grade, or deny access.” 2 Cyberexploitation refers to “gathering information through intelligence or espionage activities.” There are different reasons for interventions in cyberspace, including attacks to disrupt ser- vice, espionage activities, and hacktivism—that is, politically motivated hacking.
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