In this essay I will be discussing cyber-attacks anddifferent parts of it including the need for cyber security and such the lackof it in many worldwide companies. This topic is extremely relevant to me as itis a field that I would like to enter in the future, it really interests me andI have a real passion for the subject. This topic however is not just importantto me, not everyone may understand it yet but this is due to become a hugeindustry with cyber-attacks becoming more frequent and companies not being ableto counteract them. The research which I do here will really help in my futurecareer and studies when it comes to it as it will hopefully give me a wideperspective of the current threats. This project is important due to manyrecent attacks happening to big corporations like the NHS for example which Iwill be discussing deeper later in my essay. What is a cyber-attack?”A cyberattack is any type of offensive manoeuvre employedby nation-states, individuals, groups, or organizations that targets computerinformation systems, infrastructures, computer networks, and/or personalcomputer devices by various means of malicious acts usually originating from ananonymous source that either steals, alters, or destroys a specified target byhacking into a susceptible system.
” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberattackaccessed 05/12/2017)I will be starting my investigation looking at cybersecurity and how this is the main role of all cyber-attacks, how companies workto try and stop cyber-attacks from happening and whether or not cyber-attacksare actually terrorism. So what actually is cyber security and why is it soimportant? Cyber security itself concerns any procedures of bits oftechnology. The main aim of cyber security is to prevent any form of cyberthreats from some adware which will not do a lot apart from spam you withadverts or much more threatening things like a RAT (Remote access Trojan),which is used to take control of your computer completely and open a back doorto your computer for someone to access. The whole point of cyber security is toprevent any of these things happening however significant or insignificant theeffect of it will be.
There are many risks relating to cyber security such asMalware, Ransomware, Viruses, Worms, Spyware/adware and Trojans. So what is thedifference? Malware basically is just a term which covers any form of intrusivesoftware. Viruses are a type of malicious software which when executedreplicated itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting parts ofits own code to infect and spread on the computer. Worms are self-replicatingwhich do not require a program to attach themselves to, worms constantly seek vulnerabilitiesand report back to the worm’s author when weaknesses are discovered. Spyware oradware can be installed onto a computer when you click on links or openattachments, these are purposely made to view what the infected user types forexample in the form of a key logger in order to gain the infected userspasswords, adware places ads everywhere generating money for the owner of theads. Trojans are a program that appears to perform a certain function howeverit will perform malicious activity once opened. Ransomware is software which demands a so called “ransom”just like in a hostage situation where the hostage takers demand a ransom inorder to release the hostages, ransomware is just like that apart from withthings like files, for them to get released the criminals will demand a paymentin order to release these files.
(https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/what-is-cybersecurityaccessed 12/11/17) This is what was used in the ‘WannaCry’ attacks wherepeople victims were asked to pay amount in order to unlock there files. “‘WannaCry’searches for and encrypts 176 different file types and appends. It asks usersto pay a US$300 ransom in bitcoins. The ransom note indicates that the paymentamount will be doubled after three days.
If payment is not made after sevendays it claims the encrypted files will be deleted.”( https://www.symantec.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/wannacry-ransomware-attackaccessed 05/12/2017)This is really interesting as it shows how people willhappily break the law to try and make a quick profit and this brings upquestions of whether government laws are strict enough to deter these peoplefrom attempting things like this or is it just a matter of companies not makingenough effort to stop these attacks from happening.”WannaCry first appeared on Friday, May 12. Symantec saw a dramaticupsurge in the number of attempts to exploit the Windows vulnerabilities usedby WannaCry from approximately 8:00 GMT onwards. The number of exploit attemptsblocked by Symantec dropped slightly on Saturday and Sunday but remained quitehigh.
Exploit numbers increased on Monday, presumably as people returned towork after the weekend.Number of exploit attempts blocked by Symantec of Windowsvulnerability used by WannaCry per hourNumber of exploit attempts blocked by Symantec of Windowsvulnerability used by WannaCry per day(https://www.symantec.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/wannacry-ransomware-attackaccessed 05/12/2017)”These graphs really show how quickly a simple exploit in asystem can spread and be used and abused for financial gain. But is thisactually terrorism or it just a cyber-attack for financial gain? What actuallyis “cyber terrorism”?’Cyberterrorism is the use of the internet to conductviolent acts that result in, or threaten, loss of life or significant bodilyharm, in order to achieve political gains through intimidation. It is alsosometimes considered an act of Internetterrorism where terrorist activities, including acts of deliberate, large-scaledisruption of computer networks, especially of personal computers attached tothe internet by means of tools such as computer viruses, computer worms,fishing, and other malicious software and hardware methods and programmingscripts’ The main question we have to answer is that are allcyber-attacks preventable and are companies and governments not doing enough tostop these large scale attacks which can affect 100s of thousands of people oreven millions of people. But when is a cyber-attack defined as cyber terrorismand not just a cyber-attack?”One way of understanding cyberterrorism is the idea thatterrorists could cause massive loss of life, worldwide economic chaos andenvironmental damage by hacking into critical infrastructure systems.
The natureof cyberterrorism is conducts involving computer or Internet technology that:-is motivated by a political, religious or ideological cause-is intended to intimidate a government or a section of thepublic to varying degrees-seriously interferes with infrastructure.””The term can also be used in a variety of different ways,but is also limited on when it can be used. An attack on an internet businesscan be labeled cyberterrorism, however when it is done for economic motivationsrather than ideological it is typically regarded as cybercrime.
Cyber terrorismis also limited to actions by individuals, independent groups or organizations.Any form of cyber warfare conducted by governments and states would be regulatedand punishable under international law.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberterrorismaccessed 05/12/17) A really interesting documentary series called cyber warsproduced by vice land was really informative and very helpful regarding thisquestion I am trying to answer.
In season 1 episode 4 it shows directly what myquestion involves. The episode is about a group of people in china funded bythe Chinese government whose 9-5 job was to hack into companies and stealinformation. They used this to dominate markets by stealing information about apiece of technology for example a wind turbine. This is a real highlight of howgovernments can become more powerful without any types of “real war”.
And itshows how there is a war happening being the public eye which only the few areable to even notice. Another episode in season 1 episode 5 shows how the Syrianregime used RATS and spyware in order to watch what the rebels were doing inorder to know where they were protesting before it even happened. This is areal insight into how technology can be used to intrude on people’s privacy soeasily without need for much technological knowledge as they just bought thesoftware to spy on people from a private company.
And this really highlightshow easy it is to intrude on people privacy without them even knowing with somesoftware you can just purchase off the internet. Another extremely interesting episode inseason 1 episode 6 was about Iran’s nuclear threat. Iran wanted to developtheir nuclear technologies however they had opposition, the country’s tried topersuade Iran out of it however they proceeded. Israel was the most prominent opposition to the Iran program and is whypeople thought it may be them or the US. Someone had created a program calledStuxnet, it was a complex program which once in the system would do one of twothings.
It would either speed up the centrifuges up to 1400 hertz that theywould just vibrate uncontrollably and just shatter which would cause pieces ofaluminium to fly everywhere and possibly cause a ripple effect across thecentrifuges but also release uranium gas or would slow them down to 2 hertz these centrifuges should usuallybe spinning at 1000 hertz. The part that was really clever though however wasthat the program would also infect the shutdown button, so when the techniciansactually realised something was wrong the shutdown button would not do anythingas stuxnet would have control of that too. However it is much more complex thanthat, to avoid detection the program would record the normal use of thecentrifuges for 30 days, and then when the virus came round to destroying thecentrifuges, it would look normal as would play back the data from the past 30days and no one would know what had happened until after it actually happened.