Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” 
― Alan Turing 

Since the inception of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1969 were two American universities UCLA and Stanford tried to connect their computers we've come a long way. The first data that went over the Arpanet was the word - Lo. - It should have been Log but the computer crashed at the other end.

Arpanet was invented to share, store and process academic and military information and computer resources, because that was much more cost efficient. Cybersecurity was not an issue back then as passwords "flew" in plaintext over the net, a vulnerability that wasn't left unnoticed by the CIA and of course exploited. It's a common misconception that Arpanet was invented in case of a nucleair war.  

A Brief history of Computer viruses 

The first concept of a computer virus was developed by John van Neumann who produced a theory in 1949 of self reproducing automata. This theory was tested in 1972 by Bob Thomas (BBN Technologies). To test the Neumann's theory " The Creeper system an experimental self replicating software program infected the computers. Creeper gained access through the ARPANET and copied itself to the remote system. So the theory was tested and proven.

In 1972 the first killer app was invented EMAIL and has made it easier for users to share information. In the eighties  Personal Computers set in and Apple was actually responsible for the largest computervirus outbreak to date (Elk Cloner). In 1984 Cisco saw daylight and pioneered it's way through the Internet ensuring rapid growth.

The net grew in the academic world and became larger and larger. In the late 80's a young American senator Al Gore drafted a bill to privatize the Internet that was then still under control of the US Defense department.  The internet became populair when Tim Berners Lee (CERN) developed a users friendly  world wide web (www.) and several protocols like HTTP, hypertext. Through new webbrowers Mosaic and Netscape the popularity grew even more. You can probably see the trend that by every invention like email, webbrowser, search engine the popularity grew, innovation drives internet growth.

The new millennium and the .com hype introduced a new era for the Internet were the old economy was short disrupted by the 'click' economy.  The game changer of the Internet back then was Google. Google now has extraordinary capabilities  of a nationstate, but there are strong competitors. The amount of data that Google stores, their analytical capabilities, the search and page rank algorithms and AI are still considered the best in the business. The cybersecurity sector was actually still young in the beginning of 2000 and only a few intelligence agencies had developed capabilities to deploy.  There were of course long wolf hackers but organized crime actually started to develop in the late nineties. Paypal (99-01)had a cyberdivision that had cutting edge cybercapabilties this insight later developed in the bigdata and intelligence corporation Palantir.

Cyberspace is a vast complex and vulnerable system and we are heavily depending on it. As the Internet grows exponentially so are the vulnerabilities. Since 1971 there are a lot of computer viruses developed (estimation 150Million) and nowadays there is a actual market on the darkweb where people can buy cyber weapons to disrupt the internet by DDOS for a few dollars. The darkweb is not indexed by Google, Google only gives you about 5% percent of the actual size of the Internet (tip of the iceberg) the rest is the darkweb (below the water). Through certain search engines and browsers the darkweb can be accessed. 

Gartner estimated that in 2015 we have spend 75 Billion dollar worldwide on cybersecurity but what we do know is that the chances of a breach are 100%. If a dedicated and skilled hacker wants to get in to your system he or she will succeed, however the real dangers lie in APT's Advanced Persistent Threats. They are often carried out by teams and follow a certain strategy. Stage1 selecting target, planning (involves location, resources), reconnaissance (selecting a attack vector, social engineering, spearphising), hacking and a exit strategy. Sometimes if the customer gets breached the incident response procedure is set in motion, but often the attackers are still there listening in to learn about counter measures. 

Cyberespionage is now one of the biggest threats we are facing, driven by countries that are fuelling their economy by stealing and copying intellectual property. There countries that are innovative and creating and therefore leading the United States for one and other countries that copy. 

Cyberwar The fifth dimension

The other threat we are facing is the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure, Electrical and Nuclear Grid. We saw how advanced the stuxnet virus is, it manipulated the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) nuclear systems in Iran. Telling the operators that everything was under control but the virus infected the system by giving false readings. These viruses are so complex to develop that it is likely that a nation is behind it. Rather then bomb a nuclear facility you can nowadays attack a nation without little or no trace and a high impact probability. The stuxnet virus has evolved and morphed into a more advance form. And is one of the most powerful cyberweapons that we know to attack SCADA systems. 

It is thought that Israel is one of the leading nations in cyber capabilities and with strong security trackrecord and backing from the US they are certainly a powerful player in the Middle East and Europe. The best and the brightest in cyber warfare are the US, followed by China, Russia, Israel, North Korea and Iran.

We can now see certain cyberwar developments drones targeting satellite communications and radar systems and delivering malicious payloads to smartphones. Cyberwar therefore is actually happening and its developing.

More information? Please contact us.