By Charlotte Degro
As the DISEC discusses digital weapons, The Göttingen Diplomat takes a closer look at past cyberattacks.
Be it for military, business, or private purposes – every day billions of people are connected to the internet. While most of them use the World Wide Web for peaceful reasons, some also pursue extreme, perhaps even criminal, motives. Here are five of the most prominent examples of cyberattacks.
- Titan Rain: In the early 2000s, it became evident that a group of hackers, perhaps from the Chinese military, had gained access to sensitive information of US institutions such as the NASA and the FBI. This cyber espionage caused severe tensions in US-China relations.
- Stuxnet: Possibly developed by the US and Israel, Stuxnet was a computer worm targeting the Iranian nuclear program. It resulted in significant damage from as early as 2005 up to 2010.
- Red October: Like Titan Rain, Red October was a program for cyber espionage. It mainly targeted diplomats and was transmitted via e-mail. Although the perpetrators could never be determined with absolute certainty, there are clues pointing towards Russia.
- Chanology: Aimed at the Church of Scientology, in particular in retaliation for the organization’s attempts to remove an interview with Tom Cruise from the internet, this 2008 act of hacktivism was executed by Anonymous, a hacker group also known for supporting WikiLeaks.
- WannaCry: In 2017, WannaCry ransomware encrypted files of computers in as many as 150 countries, demanding ransom payable in Bitcoins. Victims included the British NHS as well as FedEx and Renault. The attack has since been attributed to North Korea.
In this context, The Göttingen Diplomat eagerly awaits the results from the DISEC committee regarding cyberwarfare. These can be path-breaking for combating other forms of cyberattacks such as cyber espionage.