Lines Between Cyber and Kinetic Warfare Dissolving
|Cyber and Kinetic warfare are continuing to merge from a policy, strategic, and tactical standpoint.|
The STUXNET attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility illustrated that cyber weapons can destroy physical assets at scale (for an excellent detail of the STUXNET attack see the book “Countdown to Zero Day” by Kim Zetter).
In the future, a cyber attack against physical infrastructure (such as against SCADA power plant facilities) could be considered a full act of war, and result in kinetic (i.e., bombing) attack against the perpetrator.
Therefore, cyber attacks could conceivably kill making little difference in impact from a kinetic weapon.
As illustrated in a recent comment (threat?) by the Iranian Communications & Information Technology Minister, “If the Zionist regime dares to launch a cyber attack on Iran, we will surely respond to it.” The limiting factor here, for the present time, is attribution (i.e., determining the source of a cyber attack).
Attribution is exceedingly difficult with today’s technologies. Without assured attribution, it may be impossible for any nation (from a policy standpoint) to respond severely to a cyber attack.
Look for continued blurring of the lines between kinetic and cyber attacks in national state policies, planning, and tactics.