Five great reads to understand the age of cyber conflict

Ukraine’s power grid goes dark, thousands of computer systems across Europe suddenly stop working, your computer demands payment in bitcoin to decrypt your files — you’ve all seen the headlines. Cyber conflict is reshaping how nations go to war, how criminals do business, and how spies steal information. But amidst all the news coverage of the latest cyber attack, it’s worth spending some time to dig deeper into the history of the new age of cyber conflict to better understand how these attacks work and how we can protect ourselves and our institutions. Here we’ve pulled together some of our favorite recent pieces that delve into the shadowy world of digital crime and conflict.

1. How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab For Cyberwar

WIRED | Andy Greenberg | June 6, 2017

Cyberattacks and online disinformation campaigns will define the next generation of conflict, and they will unfold silently, invisibly and inexpensively. Nowhere is it easier to see the future of conflict than in Ukraine, where institutions in media, military, politics and energy have become a testing ground for Russian cyberattacks.

2. Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families

The New York Times | Azam Ahmed & Nicole Perlroth | June 19, 2017

Activists, journalists, human rights lawyers and their families are being targeted by advanced spyware that was sold to the Mexican government under the condition that it could only be used against cartels and terrorists.

3. Hackers Find ‘Ideal Testing Ground’ for Attacks: Developing Countries

The New York Times | Sheera Frenkel | July 2, 2017

More than three billion people are expected to get access to the Internet in the next few years. As developing countries rush to go online, they provide a fertile testing ground for hackers to test their skills in an environment where criminals can evade detection.

4. Why Some of the Worst Cyberattacks in Health Care Go Unreported

Wall Street Journal | Melanie Evans | June 18, 2017

Hacking healthcare facilities has become a billion-doIlar industry. But because of an obscure regulation that says hospitals don’t need to report ransomware attacks, the healthcare system is weakened in its ability to fight cybercriminals. If hospitals aren’t aware of the attacks hitting their competitors, they’re less prepared to defend against the attacks.

5. Mystery of Motive for a Ransomware Attack: Money, Mayhem or a Message?

The New York Times | Sheera Frenkel, Mark Scott & Paul Mozur | June 28, 2017

As increasingly complex ransomware attacks happen with more frequency and cripple companies around the world, experts find themselves questioning the attackers’ motives. Are they out to make money or make a statement?