Cyberwarfare: The New Political Front


Friday, January 11, 2019

As you sit in the corner, huddled against the wall, the lights shake like an earthquake is happening right underneath your feet. You smell the faint scent of sulfur. The power goes out as an explosion rocks the house. You hear the buzzing of planes as they tear across the darkened sky, carving out a path in the night like a knife cuts through butter. Everything becomes quiet after those dreaded planes leave, but only for a moment before you hear the most dreadful, ear-shattering sound that you have heard in your entire life.

This is the war we once knew, but it is not the war that we face now. We face a war where the fighters are not so easily recognizable as faces or logos on a plane, they are now ones and zeros on a computer screen, yet capable of the same damage as the bombs. It’s the Cyber War and it threatens us like never before. The war has found its way to our political arena, and it’s only the beginning.

As those in America got up to read the daily news on July 22nd, 2016, a startling headline displayed across the television screen. The Democratic National Committee and other liberal organizations had been breached by hackers, and they stole every file the Democrats had in their servers. The hacker’s used a spear phishing attack to inject malware onto the target computers, a social engineering attack that gave a chairman in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign a false security email, giving him a link to change his passcode. The second he clicked on that link, malware was installed on his computer, and the hackers were able to get to work. The hackers then transferred files onto a server they owned in Arizona and published the incriminating data online.

The hackers, later identified as Russian, also went after various election agencies. They stole the private information of at least 500,000 voters from various state websites. We do not fully know what they did inside our systems, they may have planted or altered information during the election as well. The biggest worry is that they were able to breach the very systems that we trust to elect our future leaders to office, and if they were able to do it once, what would stop them from doing it again?

November 6th marks the 2018 Congressional Midterm Elections, the first election since President Trump took office. The government is concerned that the Russians or others may breach our systems and try to interfere with the election results. The Pentagon has authorized U.S military hackers to access Russian systems if necessary, should they try and meddle with midterm elections again. This would be open cyber warfare on another foreign country if they try and access our political systems. That’s how close we are to all-out cyberwarfare.

We do not just have to worry about nuclear war anymore, but a war fought only through the Internet. It started with political attacks and could escalate to a full-scale attack on key infrastructure that is essential to the United States. If Russia retaliates on us accessing their systems by hacking our power grid, which has already proven vulnerable, then America could go dark in a matter of hours, and the chaos would begin to unfold on American society. The political arena is the equivalent of Poland to the Cyber War, it is merely the beginning of a much larger conflict, one that could threaten all of our lives in the very near future.

Andrew Burnett is currently working on a Cyber Security degree and plans to graduate by 2021. He plans to work in the private sector, but would be open to a job in the federal government.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Andrew Burnett

Carl Sandburg College

Andrew Burnett is currently working on a Cyber Security degree and plans to graduate by 2021. He plans to work in the private sector, but would be open to a job in the federal government.

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