Financial warfare, cyberwarfare, and cybercrime, but especially the theft of data could become warfare and directly affect a country’s infrastructure. What is hard to wrap my head around is how we could hold one single person accountable for a crime against a state and representative of their government in some undeclared conflict. That idea has shown how the definition of war has evolved. I do not know if we have seen an entire war based on one person’s actions. There are a lot of places across the world where the country itself is a criminal empire. Russia is a good example of a place where organized crime has taken front stage. The gangsters are not necessarily running its’ country; however, Russia is hiring criminals to fight wars. There are even rumors the Russian government was behind the assassination of Sergei Skripal. (Galeotti 2018)
War is a touchy subject, a topic of tension between citizens of the United States. We disagree on things as extreme as whether war should happen at all and if we should involve ourselves in conflicts around the world. Considering the speed and effectiveness at which cyber controls systems in an intangible way, we should be more cautious about losing allies or losing connection with more cyber aware entities. Even though cyber-crime does not cause direct bodily harm, it could cause people to die when it creates extreme contention between otherwise mediating countries. My biggest caveat when we define cyber-crime as war-crime, we are often saying one individual or group is representative of a country, making them responsible for their criminal action. I think whether a crime is considered war depends on the intention of the criminal. Ultimately, a cybercriminal acting against the United States could potentially create irreversible critical infrastructure damage. Although unlikely, bringing down natural gas pipelines, manipulating air traffic control or water treatment facilities in any way could cause panic and even dissolution of governments. (Bradley 2012).
The introduction of Stuxnet was revolutionary for malware and created a blueprint for other criminals to build on. Cyber is the future because no one knows how much further we can manipulate machines and how much damage we can cause. We must be ready for anything, that is why I am wearing this tinfoil hat.
Bradley, T. (2012, February 20). When Is a Cybercrime an Act of Cyberwar? Retrieved from https://www.pcworld.com/article/250308/when_is_a_cybercrime_an_act_of_cyberwar_.html
Galeotti, M. (2018, March 23). Gangster’s paradise: how organised crime took over Russia. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/23/how-organised-crime-took-over-russia-vory-super-mafia