Cyber ​​Security and International Politics

The issue of cyber-attacks has emerged as a form of the Cold War in the current political world, and there is considerable ambiguity as to what the future challenges and ways to prevent them could be.

Cyber Security and Politics
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The present age is called the age of modern science and technology. Even twenty years ago, people could not have imagined that life would become so dependent on technology that any kind of need could be met at home; It can be shopping or office. 

Through virtual reality, the presence of a person thousands of miles away can also be felt sitting in a remote area. 

However, there is a saying that 'all the good things in the world have some side effects or harmful aspects, and in the midst of all the bad things there are some good things. 

Many kinds of side effects have already come to the fore in the extended use of technology. And these side effects or threats can cause concern at both the individual and state levels. 

However, this article will discuss how the expanded use of technology at the national and international levels has become a threat to national security.

In ancient times, iron weapons, as well as horses, elephants, chariots, and infantry, were the main tactics and tools to protect the country. 

After that, automatic weapons and ammunition gradually developed. At the beginning of the 20th century, one by one, Weapons of Mass Destruction - WMD were used by the world during World War II and its aftermath. 

Then a new threat to technology came to a head at the very end of the 20th century and towards the orthodox of the 21st century, and that's the cybersecurity issue.

Although many analysts still do not consider the cybersecurity issue to be such a complex threat, the issue can be explained through one of the main theories of international relations. 

Another group of analysts considers the issue seriously and warns more technology-dependent and developed states to be proactive in cybersecurity. 

Realism is one of the two main concepts of international relations (realism and liberalism). According to this doctrine, the state is the most important worker in the international system, whose main task is to work independently to achieve its own interests and goals through national security confirmation. 

An important point here is 'national security'; That is, to keep the country and the nation safe from the attack of the internal as well as external enemies.

In the twenty-first century, cyber-attacks have created a new kind of threat to national security. Cyber-attacks are a new threat to national security through hacking of government websites and computer hacking, extortion, theft of sensitive information, or accidents. 

It was recently raised as an international issue at the Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva. The issue of cyberspace being formally discussed between the two world powers added a new dimension to global politics, albeit on a small scale.

The world's first cyberattack took place in the United States in 1988. This was followed by the gradual expansion of internet technology around the world, as well as cybersecurity risks. 

In recent times, newspapers have often shown cases of large industrial organizations in industrialized countries hacking into systems and collecting ransoms or stealing reserves from central banks in developing countries like Bangladesh. 

One such incident took place in the United States last month. Darkside, a cybercriminal group, attacked the computer system of the Colonial Pipeline, a company that operates fuel oil supply pipelines in many states from New Jersey to Texas. 

The pipeline supplies 45% of petrol, diesel, and jet fuel to the East Coast of the United States. The attack led to system failure and the supply of fuel to several states was cut off. 

As a result, the company was forced to recover the system by ransoming $3.3 million to colonial pipeline hackers. But the company claims it was later able to recover the equivalent of $2.3 million in bitcoin.

The United States has said the attack was carried out by Russia. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia has nothing to do with such incidents

A complex issue in this type of cyber attack is to recover the identity of the attacker. The number of such crimes is increasing proportionately with the development of technology as it is difficult to immediately identify and locate the attacker.

Government-sponsored hackers are trained and recruited in industrialized countries, but it is cybersecurity and rescue systems if they are attacked. 

However, there is speculation in international circles that many countries also hire hackers to carry out sabotage on enemy states. North Korea is one such country that the United States claims.

It is believed that in North Korea, one of the world's poorest countries, children who have been good at mathematics since childhood are given special training on complex topics such as hacking, coding. 

As a result, skilled hackers were born in this poor country, which is more or less food-fed almost throughout the year.

The United States and Israel are also accused of hacking and cyber-attacks. Last April, Iran's nuclear power plant, Natanz, was hit by two mysterious explosions in a row. 

Iranian officials alleged that the combined cyber attacks by the United States and Israel damaged the power connection to the Natanz plant. 

Many types of machinery were damaged as well as centrifuges were damaged. However, the United States did not heed Iran's demands.

Apart from Russia, North Korea, the United States is also concerned about Chinese hackers. After several attacks, the United States set up a cyber command inside the Pentagon to protect security and track down enemies. 

There, along with Russian hackers, China's activities also emerged. Later, the United States paid special attention to what Chinese hackers were doing, especially in the theft of commercial secrets.

In addition, during the 2016 presidential election, two hackers from Russian spy agencies were working inside the US Democratic Party. 

They continued to influence election activities, including personal data theft, false news campaigns. Microsoft claims that hackers from Russia, China, and Iran saw similar activity in the 2020 elections.

But the United States is more concerned about Russian hackers. The United States suspects that most of the attacks on the United States were from the former Soviet state of Eastern Europe or Russia. 

A BBC report has also revealed some evidence stake disclaims. For example, hackers' activity goes according to the Russian office schedule.

The groups were even seen quiet on The Russian Weekend and on public holidays. With the help of several other such pieces of evidence, the United States has handed over the names of the 16 most important institutions to President Putin, without thinking of any further cyberattacks on these organizations.

That is, cybersecurity has become important in international politics and the more technology develops, the more it is expected to be discussed. 

Meanwhile, the cyber attack has become a form of the cold war in the current political world and there is also enough smoke on what could be a strong way to challenge and prevent its future.

We can explain conventional warfare by several theories in international relations and draw on several theories such as the principle of Balance of Power and the principle of Deterrence Theory in preventing it. But in cases of unconventional warfare like cyber attacks, these doctrines may not be very effective.

During the Cold War, US President Eisenhower adopted the Doctrine of Massive Retaliation Policy (Doctrine of Massive Retaliation) to counter the socialist influence of Russia and China in the arrogance of nuclear weapons. 

In other words, he announced that US forces would retaliate drastically even if the United States was hit slightly by external enemies.

But later, when Russia became stronger than ever before in nuclear weapons and China also achieved nuclear capabilities in the sixties, US President John F. Kennedy defended the world from another destruction by adopting the Flexible Response Policy (Doctrine of Flexible Response) under pressure from the people.

That is to say, the prevention theory was successfully applied here because of the power balance on both sides. But such doctrines are unlikely to succeed in cyber warfare. Because to implement the principle of balance of power, it is necessary to know in advance how strong the opponent is. 

When one party sees that he has hit the opponent, he will be able to strike the same second strike on him. In this way the principle of balance of power and the principle of prevention is effective.

But it is difficult to know how strong one side is in cyber attacks. It is also not possible to know where the attack took place as soon as the attack took place. 

Long research is required to know these things. As a result, international relations analysts comment that the cyber risk issue is moving at a reckless pace over time. 

The counter-cyber attack at this pace will harm global politics and the economy. And third world countries will be direct victims of this impact. One of the examples of what could be a China-United States trade war of former President Trump's time.

After the Second World War, many specialized international organizations were established to prevent conventional warfare and to create a forum for dialogue between the states.

In addition, the United States and Russia have several arms control agreements. International conventions have created international law on the responsibilities and duties of the state towards war, weapons, the military, and civilians. 

But in the field of cybersecurity, so far no institutional structure or agreement has been mentioned in the political world. However, as this uncertain risk continues to grow day by day, analysts do not think there will be any effective way for the international community other than direct discussions and agreements. 

Experts welcomed the way the issue was raised at the Biden-Putin meeting. If the United States and Russia start strong discussions on cybersecurity and they can reach any understanding or agreement, it will be a systematic structure for other countries to release cybersecurity risks from industrialized countries as well as developing countries will live.


Jannatul Tazri Trisha
Alumni, Department of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University.
Email: trisha.jannat1112@gmail.com
Date:2021-07-19

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