WAR WITHIN A WAR
Cyber war is a part of any conventional war today. It aids, abets and propels the cause. It complements and supplements the war effort. It creates a level of asymmetry, without the world getting a different feel of it. If done surreptitiously it can even go noticed. It can be brought to the surface only to the quantum necessary. It can make a bold entry and create a hue and cry with hardly any effort, way beyond a conventional war machine can do, and that too outside the theatres of war. It can do war mongering and create an environment that heavens are going to fall and create a situation of immense pressure.
There would be chances that an adversary not familiar with this theater of war may end up relenting to pressure, way beyond the action of the cyber front. The enemy might end up giving space based on the perception of imminent danger created. Recent cyber-attacks on Taiwan have to be looked into with this backdrop and through the prism of Chinese track record in this field. Hackers from China are believed to have targeted various Taiwanese government websites ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s visit. Before her visit electronic bulletin boards at Sinzuoying Station and in some 7-Eleven convenience stores were hacked.
The message on display post hacking talked against the speaker’s visit and that China would eventually be unified. There was a DDOS attack on government websites as well. Presidential Palace official website was attacked by an overseas DDOS attack. The attack was 200 times the normal traffic. The foreign ministry said that websites have been hit with up to 8.5 million traffic requests a minute. These request emanated from large number of IPs from China, Russia and other places. The reason behind the hacking of bulletin boards in the convenience stores happened easily as they use Chinese software, which would contain Trojan malware. Thus they were made targets of cyber-attacks.
Taiwanese security firm, CyCraft, said pervious attacks on financial institutions was tracked to code name Operation Cache Panda, connected to APT 10. APT 10 was said to be in association with Chinese state department. APT 10 had targeted a large array of commercial activities, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, banking and finance etc. Zhu and Zhang registered IT infrastructure was used for this purpose. In 2020, Chinese hacking group Blacktech, linked to the government attacked at least 10 government agencies and 6000 accounts of government officials in an ”infiltration” to steal important.
WAR OR NO WAR, CYBER WAR IS ALWAYS ON.