Cyber Warfare in the Heartland – What you need to know

("170 - Typing" by Hillary, CC BY-SA 2.0)

FORT WAYNE, In (WOWO): It’s easy to put your smartphone in your pocket or bag and think nothing of it when heading out. Likewise, you can sit at home or work on your computer, reading, e-mailing or paying bills and not realize that all around your computer, a war is raging over your security online.

Recent geo-political tensions involving Iran, along with news reports out of China and North Korea underscore the very active, and often dangerous world of the Internet. Cyber Warfare has become a part of the daily lives of our connected, electronic devices.

Attacks from not only political adversaries of the US but also proxies of those adversaries and even criminals from within the US and those countries can include, but are not limited to:

  • Disruptive and destructive cyber operations: This can be against strategic targets such as the military or government, but also against business targets such as financial institutions, energy and telecommunication companies.
  • Cyber-enabled espionage, identity and intellectual property theft: Anything from online bank account, social security information, credit card information and even control of your smart-phone or computer. This is most often accomplished via a “phishing” attack.
  • Disinformation campaigns: Such attacks are not limited to politics. This can be anything from impersonating the IRS or Social Security to get information to even private companies such as the United States Postal Service or Fed-Ex.

Cyber Warfare is nothing new. In fact, it’s been going on for nearly 30 years now. But as we get faster Internet and more devices inter-connected, we are seeing the world change. The cyber-world that our devices live in is as real to them as our physical world is to us. Where we see changes, often in timelines such as seasons, or by days, weeks or months, our devices see changes in their world hourly and sometimes faster. Very literally, the electronic world they go to sleep in when you stop using them is totally different than the one they’ll wake up in the next day when you begin using them. That world has no shortage of predators.

The great news though, is that with the right preparedness, you can maximize safety. Bernie Beier, Allen County Department of Homeland Security Director tells WOWO News that even with the coordinated, fast moving, daily effort of Federal, State and Local agencies, the biggest single thing that can be done to remain safe is to simply be aware and stay on top of information about different types of cyber attack.

Backups, incident response, account protections including updated software all help as well. It’s as simple as staying informed and being prepared.

A vast wealth of information is available to you as well. Some links recommended include:

CISA – This is the Federal Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security site.

Indiana Cyber Security Hub 

Beier said that it’s good to enjoy and make use of the advancing technology and Internet speed, but with the increases, must come an increase in awareness and preparation.

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