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What is Cyberwarfare?
Updated on 30th Mar, 23 382 Views

What is Cyber Warfare?

Cyber Warfare and cybersecurity go hand in hand. Cyber Warfare can happen to organizations or other such entities. But, in general, it is used to attack a country’s core digital system. The core digital system usually consists of highly sensitive data; through cyber warfare, such data is handled in a way by cyber warfare wagers to disrupt a country’s overall security. In addition to harming a country’s security, there might be other digital risks for the country as well.

In brief, it would be correct to say that cyber warfare uses cyberwar techniques to damage computer systems in the target country. Furthermore, it can lead to the death of people as well.

Cyber warfare, generally, attacks a country’s financial infrastructure, public infrastructure, electrical systems, safety infrastructure, and military resources.

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Types of Cyber warfare

On understanding what cyber warfare is, you might understand that there are several types of cyber warfare attacks and they vary in intensity. The following are the common types of attacks.


Distributed denial-of-service attack, popularly known as DDoS attack, makes computers inaccessible for target users. In the physical world, a DDoS attack is similar to the manipulation of wires to disrupt important conversations in a country’s security. DDoS attacks computers or networks with poor or insufficient security systems.


It is an elaborate plan to manipulate or brainwash a country’s people via the press. The press includes online news platforms as well. Propaganda to control or shape people’s views against or in support of a certain incident or ideology.

Economic disruption

A popular example of the economic disruption because of cyber warfare is the 2017 attack in Ukraine and on the UK National Health Service. The cyber warfare appeared to be ransomware but it caused high-scale damages to organizations. The goal of such an attack is to disrupt the overall economic situation of an organization or country in general.

Surprise cyberattack

The purpose of a surprise cyberattack is to take down a country’s prestigious or important organizations by surprise to exhibit the attacker’s power. This type of cyber warfare is categorized as a nontraditional form of cyber warfare.

But, what is the main purpose of cyber warfare? The following section will answer that.

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What is the purpose of cyberwarfare?

There are several purposes of cyberwarfare attacks. However, the following are a few of the most common purposes of these attacks. The following list answers the query what is cyberwarfare?, at a higher-level of understanding.

  • Military: This is done to gain control of the target country’s military cyberspace.
  • Civil: This is done to instill fear amid the people living in the target country.
  • Hacktivism: This is done to spread a particular ideology among the people in the target country.
  • Income generation: This is done to gain monetary benefits from the people living in the target country. Generally, financial institutions are looted via income generation cyberwarfare.
  • Nonprofit research: Sometimes, cyberwarfare happens for the betterment of a country. For example, if the world is going through a crisis and a particular country has solutions for the same, the country usually implements them and shares the same with other countries as well for the betterment of the world, in general.

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Examples of Cyber warfare

The following are a few notable, recent cyber warfare attacks:

  • In the year 1988, a worm, intended to be an experiment, led to computer repairs of US$100 million. This gave birth to current day’s DDoS attacks. Robert Tappan Morris created the experimental worm at Cornell University, USA.
  • The worm is popularly known as the Morris worm, deriving its name from its creator. Three teenagers in 1998 actively hacked up to 500 computers in the US; the computers included government systems as well.

    The attack affected the nation’s IT infrastructure to a very large extent. This cyber warfare is popularly known as the case of Solar Sunrise. The name is derived from the fact that Sun Solaris was the common operating system in all hacked computers.
  • In the year 2009, Google, the search engine giant, encountered the problem of cyber warfare. Though China has strict internet access rules, Google was offered permission to capitalize on the internet usage to a certain extent.

    On realizing that their server has been breached by the Chinese government, Google had to move from .cn to Hong Kong to prevent further damages. The attack included accessing emails of people in the US, China, and Europe.

The above-mentioned are a few examples of cyber warfare that cost millions. And, the following are the most common attacks that you should be aware of.

Currently, the most common cyber warfare attack is malware. Malware cyber warfare is a method where you will be sent a malicious link with convincing authenticity. By clicking the link, your accounts, system, or anything of such nature will be hacked. By entering the system, the malware will be able to install harmful software, steal sensitive or confidential information, and much more.

But, how is cybercrime different from cyber warfare? The following section will answer.

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Difference between Cybercrime and Cyber warfare

  • Cybercrime is illegal, and is always done because of criminal motives. However, cyber warfare can be done for the betterment of a country as well.
  • The effect of cybercrime is psychological, while the effect of cyber warfare is at the national or international level; the latter involves commercial exploitation in most cases.

But, how exactly did the evolution of cyber warfare in today’s world happen? The history and evolution of cyber warfare is quite interesting as well. It initially began with experiments, but with the development of technologies, its impact has grown as well. Currently, in general, cybercrime affects over USD one trillion of the global economy.


The future of cyber warfare attacks are predicted to be used as a major cyberwar technique. It is also predicted that artificial intelligence will be involved in future cyber warfare strategies.

To conclude, the ever growing cyber warfare technologies are used for both good and bad motives. With the growing anti-cyber warfare technologies, it can be expected that there might be solid solutions to deal with cyber warfare techniques used for ill motives.

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