Cyber warfare

  • Cyber warfare is computer- or network-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks by a nation-state on another nation-state. In these types of attacks, nation-state actors attempt to disrupt the activities of organizations or nation-states, especially for strategic or military purposes and cyber espionage.
  • It involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks.



  • In 2020, the United States (US) department of defence (DoD) exposed an information-stealing malware, SlothfulMedia, which they said was being used to launch cyberattacks against targets in India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia and Ukraine.
  • The most notorious example is that of the misinformation campaign conducted by Russian bots during the 2016 US presidential elections.
  • Societally, sowing disinformation through social media disinformation is also cyberwarfare. Russia has been particularly savvy in this field but recently, China has stepped up its game.
  • Intellectual property (IP) rights are another avenue of strategic competition — in 2014, the US justice department indicted five Chinese military hackers and accused them of stealing secrets from US Steel, JP Morgan, Alcoa, Westinghouse Electrical Co., and United Steelworkers.
  • Military cyberattacks are perhaps the most associated with cyberwarfare — the “Sandworm Team”, a group associated with Russian intelligence, has conducted attacks on government sectors in the US, Ukraine, Poland, and on the European Union and NATO.
  • A well-documented cyberattack occurred in 2010 when a malware “Stuxnet” that was designed to damage Iran’s nuclear capability by making Iranian scientists and government think there were a series of internal engineering mishaps at their enrichment facility.