The Future of Cyberconflict

What can we expect from the conflicts of the future...
07 March 2022

Interview with 

James Lyne


We've seen how cyberwarfare is changing the nature of modern conflicts, from information wars dictating how we follow the narrative, to hacking and interfering with the weapons and tactics of the enemy. But what does the future hold in store? We spoke to James Lyne...

Chris - James, do you think this kind of vigilante information war and also cyber warfare is something we're going to see more of in the future because it's certainly been something people are commenting on as being almost like a first. That we haven't really seen a war where this has been so prominent in the past.

James - I think there's an inevitable trajectory towards more use of cyber warfare tactics or cyber crime with aligned interests just because we're placing more and more technology around us at every moment. That just makes it rife for opportunities. Now, this has been building for some time. There have been attacks as far back as the early 2000s against industrial control systems and power stations but, of course, this is starting to put it into a new level of light to the public, in light of the horrific events in Ukraine. I would certainly say this is something we are going to see more of, and we need to remember that, as throughout this program we've talked about military actions and intelligence, we've also talked about how individual businesses can be targeted. Whilst the Russians are probably not taking time out right now to target Mrs Miggins' violin shop, that doesn't mean that they couldn't be part of a campaign of cyber criminals, or used as part of a more substantial nefarious attack. It's important we're all following cybersecurity safety practices. This isn't just a government thing.

Chris - I know that this is obviously prominent right now, but have many of these actors already been preparing the ground for many years? For instance, we are buying wholesale bits of equipment from other countries. Is it possible that there are lots of back doors that we are unaware of and they could be then activated to call up an army of devices that we've all got in our homes and all around us, or they can access those back doors when they want them.?

James - Without wanting to cause people to start ripping technology out of their homes left, right and centre, yes, supply chain attacks have occurred on significant scale, attributed to nation states as well as cyber criminals, multiple times over the past few years. Sourcing technology, particularly to put into sensitive places like power, water utilities, and telecoms is something that has to be done very carefully. It is very much an active risk as we depend on technology more and more. It is crucial that, as individuals, we're constantly looking at our use of technology and thinking about the validity of information we're accessing, thinking about how technology may be manipulating us, and then of course governments and businesses have huge responsibilities in securing and sourcing these very crucial pieces of infrastructure, like 5g, like power and water, that have demonstrably been attacked by nation states in the past.


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