The Next War Will Be Fought from a Keyboard

Almost as soon as the first DNC email was leaked, party leaders, and even members of the sitting administration, pointed the finger east towards Russia. Now the outgoing President has ordered sanctions against dozens of Russian diplomats. While there remains questions as to whether or not the hacking of the DNR and Clinton accounts were authorized by the Putin’s government, there is no doubt that this is a glimpse into what future warfare will involve.

Espionage and propaganda have been a part of international relations since the first borders were drawn on a map. Over the centuries, many sorted and even embarrassing secrets have been revealed due to loose lips and pillow talk, but cyber hacking takes things to a whole new level. Combine this with the almost instant access to a worldwide audience via the internet and a team of skilled hackers – or even a single person – behind a keyboard now has the ability to influence world politics like never before. No need to sneak into an embassy, trick a lonely diplomat into bed or search through garbage for carelessly discarded secrets. Now the infiltrator can be anywhere in the world and quietly search for hidden access via the electronic highway that connects almost everyone.  In the past this was understood, even expected, and nations took steps to limit the possibility enemies would have for success. The same thing needs to be done in terms of cyber security, and the US needs to start taking it seriously.

Regardless of whether or not it was the Russian government that hacked sensitive emails prior to the recent elections, someone did gain unauthorized access to the DNC server, Clinton’s accounts and more than one of her aides. Over the final weeks of the election, we were given a glimpse into what was copied by those hackers, some of it embarrassing, and some sensitive. What we did not learn is what else was there? Was there other – possibly classified – information on those same servers?

Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server was a major aspect of the recent election, but it is also indicative of a much larger problem within the US government in terms of cyber security. Anyone who has ever worked in government service knows there are layers and layers of protection when it comes to protecting sensitive information, including that which exists in the digital world. Every employee receives repeated training in what is and is not allowed; only specific official devices are to be connected to the network and access to those devices is limited to authorized persons only. Obviously that did not happen in the case of former Secretary Clinton, but more concerning is the fact that it appears to have been widely known throughout the inner circle of the administration, and no one seems to have stepped up to say, “This is dangerous.”

The United States needs to take the cyber threat as seriously as we have nuclear missiles in Cuba or submarines off the coast of New York. Our manufacturing might is what made us a world power and why we remained in top for so long. But the cyber warrior does not need vast factories or a skilled workforce – it needs sophisticated equipment and highly trained individuals. This means that any nation big or small has the ability to become a major force simply by gaining a technical edge over its enemies. We can no longer rely on our size as a defense. We must develop strong safeguards, enforce strict adherence and begin establishing our own cyber army as well. Otherwise we will find our nation’s future determined by a simple click of a button.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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