The development of online threats with the purpose of infiltrating and creating havoc on computer and network systems is not only the work of individuals. This kind of activity is if fact carried out in an organised way at a much higher level. Many powerful first world countries have teams of developers who work on creating these kinds of applications which are targeted at the computer systems of other countries. There is one super-power, China, which have a group of experts promoting its online presence in order to cement its rise as an industrial, military and financial power ready to influence the world.
China has been able to maintain this development by having approximately 10 000 personal involved with cyber intelligence scattered in 170 cities throughout the world. Together they are a vital link in the countries political and economic force and are collectively also known as ‘deep water fishes’. This armada has its roots in the 1980’s and today are the reason behind the strength of China’s influence on internet based activities.
It is on full alert and has Trojans, viruses, malware and other threats ready to infringe on opposing computer systems should a situation of war arise. All of this was initiated by General Dai under the leadership of President Jiang Zemin. This show of power is also evident in the local online environment, where the Chinese government have what is called the ‘Golden Shield’ in operation. With this it is able to control all cyber links with the rest of the world and has a full view of all communication within its civilian and electronic environments.
The online world has been a source of damaging attacks on many commercial websites across the globe. There are many theories about the Chinese being the instigators behind many of these attacks, but no-one has been prepared to follow this up by irrevocably giving them the blame.
We should also not fool ourselves. It is not on the Chinese who are involved with this kind of activity. Besides individuals who are involved with the development of online threats, many western countries are also engaged with similar activities.
There is one good example of such a threat which was developed jointly between Israel and the USA and was called the Stuxnet worm. It was development by a number of individuals situated throughout the world and in 2010 it was said to be responsible for leading to the delay in the development of the Iranian uranium enrichment program. This virus got into the computer system responsible for controlling the centrifuges used in this process, and eventually caused about a quarter of them to malfunction.
It is a fact that propaganda in times of adversary is not anything new, except that the mode of action has changed. In the last century printing and television was used extensively. Today, with the growth in the internet, this has also become a tool utilised extensively for propaganda as well.
Cyber warfare is used by individuals and major countries to take control of their opposition and to demonstrate a show of power. This action is not only limited to a country such as China, but is a way of warfare adopted by most of the world super powers.