05 May 2022

Is the UK Prepared for a Cyberwar?

When you think of war, what do you think of? Bombs and guns? Well, the modern warzone looks a lot different. That’s because certain wars are now taking place in the digital world.

This is a trend that isn’t new and it’s happening in your own country. 34% of cyber espionage breaches occur in Europe. Not only that, but it’s predicted there will be an increase in digital attacks.

Are we ready for cyberwar? What does that mean for the state of the Ukraine war and the safety of the UK?

What would a cyberwar entail?

Cyberwar encompasses any number or type of cyberattack against an entire nation. The biggest threat is the disruption of vital computer systems.

It is unknown what particular actions separate cyber warfare from cybercrime. While the main difference is terrorist groups usually commit cyberwarfare actions on an opposing nation, they could use cybercrime tactics such as hacking.

Cyberwarfare may or may not include physical attacks. Unlike a physical war, these are the weapons of choice for a cyberwar criminal:

  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
  • Viruses and malware
  • Spyware
  • Hacking
  • Disinformation
  • Ransomware

Why no one should take a cyberwar lightly

The goals of cyber terrorists include disrupting, weakening, and even destroying another nation’s digital systems. They plan to disrupt the digital activities of their enemies. These activities often include banking, transportation, water supplies, power grids, hospitals, and dams. This means cyberwar can still cause physical harm to a country’s residents.

Even if terrorists don’t target the safety and well-being of a country’s residents, cyberwar criminals may still target a country’s internal processes. This can include infecting digital systems, blocking government communications, and stealing intelligence data.

What happens if a terrorist steals intelligence data? Well, they can sell it, hold it for ransom, destroy it, or use that data to incite chaos.

Cyber espionage is becoming a more popular attack method. Since its sophisticated spies may be unnoticed for a significant period of time, they can compromise sensitive information that they will use for gain.

What does this mean for businesses in the defence sector?

Cyber terrorists also pose a threat to military and defence businesses. They use their tech-savviness to reduce military effectiveness and can even compromise missions.

Defence businesses must defend their digital systems. Cyber terrorists will take advantage of any vulnerabilities to cause a data breach.

Defence businesses also need to seek assistance from skilled computer engineers who can identify and analyse various cyber threats, prioritising cyber protection. This will prevent cyber-attacks ahead of time, ensuring defence companies can take action.

It is also necessary to consider technological advancements, such as automation. This advanced technology will recognise potential vulnerabilities even sooner, taking more actions, and better protecting your system.

What investments has the UK made in cyber defence?

The UK has invested £10 million in the country’s cyber security sector. This not only extends to defence but also private cyber security. Cyber security firms grew by 14 per cent in the UK between 2020 and 2021, creating 6,000 new jobs, and generating £1 billion of external investment in 84 deals. Currently, the cyber security sector has 50,000 employees.

This includes more than just defence – Britain has become a record-breaking technological hub, making cutting-edge tools that can help individuals as well as whole organisations.

With regard to defence, Britain has become a leader in threat monitoring and network security. In addition, the UK is taking their intelligence innovations and extending them to allies.

How does the UK’s defence investment compare to other nations?

What’s the state of global readiness in a potential cyber war? NATO recognises the destructive and complex threat of cyberwar. That’s why cyber defence is part of NATO’s core collective defence. The organisation is currently evolving their cyber threat efforts to ensure member states receive optimal protection. NATO has a Cyber Rapid Reaction team that is on standby 24 hours a day.

They also affirmed cyberspace applies to international law. NATO and its allies operate in cyberspace to protect their own networks and provide a platform for collective action. All of these actions can mitigate and prevent cyberattacks while recovering from threats that occur.

NATO specifically has an alliance with the EU. The Technical Arrangement of Cyber Defence was signed in 2016 and strengthens all areas of cyber defence, notably in the realm of information exchange.

What about other allies? The US is handling this situation in a more complex manner. The US developed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in 2018. This agency reduces cyber risks to ensure they don’t impact the physical safety of Americans.

Investment in cyber security is also significantly increasing. After increased cyber-attacks on private companies, and even the government, Goldman Sachs invested $125 million into supply chain cybersecurity. The investments will focus on protecting government, energy, defence, and aerospace accounts.

This makes both the UK and the US leaders in cyber security. Both countries have an alliance in attacking and preventing various cyberattacks, with the nations’ biggest cyber security firms working in both countries.

The UK, US, and EU aren’t the only nations making massive cyber security impacts. After suffering nation-state cyberattacks, Australia is making more cyber security investments. These investments will protect the country’s infrastructure from enemies. This will not only protect the government but also private industries, such as healthcare and education.

 

A cyberwar is a scary thought, and no one wants to see one happen. That said, it’s best that your business prepares for the worst. If you’re interested in finding out more about what’s happening in the world of defence procurement, and perhaps explore the opportunities available to you as a business, request a demo with us today.