The world has entered a new era of conflict – offensive cyber-attacks aimed at infrastructure and society, all done without a shot being fired. BBC Future visits some of those fighting back.

Posted on BBC | By Christian Borys

Civilian infrastructure such as powerplants can be vulnerable to offensive cyber-attacks

Several months after the WannaCry cyber-attack, much of the world still seems to be asleep to the potential catastrophic effects of cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure systems.

The first nation state-level cyber-attack on critical infrastructure, widely attributed to a joint collaboration between American and Israeli intelligence against Iran, was uncovered in 2010. Known as the Stuxnet virus, the attack aimed to take down Iran’s nuclear program.

A cyber-attack on Ukraine in 2015 affected more than 100,000 people

The virus failed to achieve its mission. But by destroying nearly 1,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, it was unprecedented for having caused physical damage by way of virtual attack. And it ushered in a new era of conflict: that of offensive cyber-warfare.

A brazen example of this new era occurred on 23 December 2015, when a stunned Ukrainian power plant worker watched the cursor on his computer screen come to life. As the cursor began to click through his system, he tried to regain control, but became locked out of his own computer. From far away, a sophisticated hacker was controlling his computer.

WannaCry was just the latest in a line of highly publicised attacks on critical infrastructure. But it is highly unlikely to be the last.

Read entire article The labs that protect against cyber warfare | BBC

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