a.k.a. cyberspy, cyberspies, cyberwarfare, cyber-war, sandworm

What Washington, D.C., calls a hacker attack on government computer systems, in a cyberwar the offensive force picks the battlefield, and the other side may not even realize it's under attack. Just as with e-anything and i-anything, we are also seeing the use of "cyber-anything" (including cyberguerrilla, cybercop, and so on). These terms are often used by journalists to create a sensation, but cyberwars are legitimate and can be very destructive. For example, China denied reports that Chinese "cyberspies" had stolen sensitive data from thousands of computer across the world.

Historical perspective: An April, 2009 report by the Information Warfare Monitor, a Canadian watchdog group, said a Chinese spy ring had hacked classified documents from governments and organizations in 103 countries, including the Dalai Lama's private files. The group said the hackers could take complete control of computers, even activating microphones and cameras to spy on people in the vicinity.

So, what would cyberwar look like? It would be silent but enormously destructive. The two sides could block access to the Global Positioning System GPS, disrupt air traffic control and electric lines and grids, and block access to the internet or fill popular websites with propaganda—causing widespread chaos and fear. Cyberwar is the only field of warfare in which the U.S. doesn’t have a clear advantage over its foes, warned then–Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey before he retired in 2015.

In 2019, Andy Greenberg wrote "Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers, and according to Richard Stiennon in, "it has achieved what I thought was no longer possible, it scares me. Even after covering the cybersecurity industry as an analyst for years, I was underestimating the threat posed by the world’s most destructive cyberwarfare unit and others like it. Sandworm, one of several hacker groups inside Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, has been blamed for cutting off power to Ukraine to support Russia’s annexation of Crimea, for hacking U.S. election systems, and for unleashing NotPetya, a piece of malicious software that in 2017 caused a record-setting $10 billion in damage worldwide. The scariest thing about Sandworm, though, is that its methods make people throughout the world vulnerable to harm, even when the intended target is an unrelated nation. “Sandworm is much more than a true-life techno thriller, though it is partly that," said Cory Doctorow in the Los Angeles Times. Greenberg, an expert Wired reporter, introduces us to U.S., Russian, and Ukrainian generals and techies who play the tale’s criminals or sleuths, making the drama relatable. But Greenberg’s book also offers “a tour through a realm that is both invisible and critical to the daily lives of every person alive.” Understanding cybersecurity is now necessary to civic literacy. “As Greenberg so aptly demonstrates, you may not be interested in cybersecurity, but it is certainly interested in you.”

See also : back-hack  cyberterrorism  netwar  
NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon