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Technological change and new challenges in war

Alexandra Goman

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The notion of war has been changing for a long time due to technological advances. This subsequently has caused new arms races. Since the first military revolution in infantry and artillery during the Hundred Years’ War, many things have been indeed reshaped. New technologies consistently redefined the way wars are conducted and altered the notion of risk (both for combatants and civilians).

For a long time land and sea were the main domains for a war. As the technology further developed and a flight capability was introduced, air has become a new domain.  That posed new risks and challenges that one could not overlook. To keep balancing on the battlefield one needed to adjust accordingly and develop its own air capability. Having only land troops and naval ships were suddenly not enough to prevail in these new circumstances. The military planning and strategy changed with it, shifting from the trench warfare during the World War I to a blitzkrieg and air raids during the World War II.

In the middle of 20th century nuclear weapons were invented which greatly impacted the warfare and the balance of international relations. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed more than just a massive destructive power that could obliterate millions in a blink of the eye. Years later demonstrated a real impact of a nuclear bomb and its long-lasting consequences as well as how poorly prepared were the infrastructures for a nuclear attack.

The advent of internet and its rapid development brought another military revolution, introducing computer-assisted battlefield and precision-guided munitions (PGM). More sophisticated weapons like missiles increased the distance between enemies, hence changing the risks involved and recalculating political strategy and tactics. Increased dependency on information technology resulted in new threats and opened new vulnerabilities of national security (Ohlin, Govern and Finkelstein, 2015, x-xiii).

Meanwhile, the amount of cyber threats and vulnerabilities are rapidly increasing. At the moment there are several tendencies for cyberattacks. First, it takes less time to launch a cyberattack as its speed of transmission is very high. Second, such attacks are becoming more frequent and have more serious impact on systems. Third, there are now different types of actors, capable of launching a cyberattack.

Estonia was the first to experience the effects of growing technological dependency in the history. In 2007 its government infrastructure, financial sector and media were targeted and attacked entirely in cyberspace[1]. The country proved to be highly vulnerable and unable to give a timely response, yet after these attacks Estonia started a public discussion on the issues of cyber defense in security and pushed other countries to take these issues into consideration. In a way, it was a stimulus to raise awareness on increased vulnerabilities and cyber threats (See also Aaviksoo, 2010).

This new space has clearly its threats as any other physical domain. As online interconnectivity increases, cyber threats are increasing with them. All digital technologies that receive, transmit, and manage digital data can be potentially interfered through a cyberattack (Lewis and Unal, 2017). Cyber security expert Rod Beckstrom, who is a former Chief Executive Officer of ICANN, said[2]: “Everything networked can be hacked. Everything is being networked, so everything is vulnerable”.

That was further proven by the Black Hat Briefings, the biggest computer security conferences in the world. These vulnerabilities can be easily exploited. Cyberattacks vary from data theft and financial fraud to data manipulation and manipulation of machine instructions. Furthermore, they can interfere with enemy sensors, communications, command-control systems, and weapon systems. In this sense, defending electronic infrastructure grows consistently as our dependence on information system grows.

Similarly to the development of nuclear weapons back to the 20th century, it is well-known that many countries are currently developing cyber capabilities and boosting research and investment in this area. This means that the arms race in cyberspace has already started. In 2007 there were 120 countries, already developed ways to use the internet to target different sectors (Ohlin, Govern, and Finkelstein, 2015, xii).

As much as the debate in regards to offensive cyber capacities is increasing its pace, two distinct patters are emerged in the way it is discussed. Some say that cyber can lower the threshold in war; others worry about its use in taking down critical infrastructures.

In the first optimistic case, military and states regard these capabilities capable of occupying a new niche in diplomatic tools. In 2014 Eric Rosenbach, an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security at that time, has indeed referred[3] cyber operations as helpful in reaching national goals.  Specifically, he mentioned “the space between” diplomacy, economic sanctions and military action, meaning using cyber space to accomplish national interest. Cyberattacks can be used as an addition to military strikes or can become an alternative to direct kinetic confrontation, complimenting other tools used in politics. Thus, they can further lower the threshold of the use of force in a war.

In other case, however, it can possess as much destructive power as nuclear weapons, for example if it is targeted on power grids or critical infrastructures. Increased connectivity from consumer goods to critical infrastructure control systems poses great risks and vulnerabilities across the world (Weber, 2010). These vulnerabilities can be used as leverage or they can be used exploited instead of launching a missile, following a similar ultimate goal of taking down an adversary.

Traditionally, national and international security has been seen through a physical lens. Normally there is always a state that secures its land borders, sea boundaries, and protects airspace. In contrast, there is no equivalent to city police or a state army that protects its citizens in cyberspace. As professor of National Security Affairs Reveron summarizes[4], unlike other domains, the government does not have a natural role in cyberspace to promote security. In its turn cyber challenges the traditional framework of security.

Today people willingly share, transmit or store all sort of data through the internet. It is not surprising that a new strategy evolves by planting software into an electronic device to manipulate this data. For instance, by manipulating e-mails of nuclear power plant employees it is possible to acquire sensitive information and use it as a leverage tool. This shift in the notion of warfare merged military and corporate espionage functions. Militarization of cyberspace subsequently blurred legal and moral definitions of privacy rights. In the 21st century any individual may be targeted in the virtual world, depending on the information niche s/he is occupying. In result, the line between military and civil sectors is fading away.

All in all, cyber capabilities have indeed brought a new technological change and now re-shifting security, definitions and rules of war. International law, at the same time, has been slow in adjusting to a new evolving order and establishing an appropriate legal regime for cyberattacks.  Moreover, this technological advance has coined a new term for the notion of war – a cyberwar. Ohlin, Govern, and Finkelstein suggest that this change brings not only new weapons to be employed, but transforms the entire notion of war (2015, xiii).

References

Lewis, P. and Unal, B. (2017). Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons System. In: Borrie, J., Caughley, T., and Wan, W., (Eds.), Understanding Nuclear Weapons Risks, 1st ed. Geneva: UNIDIR, pp.  61-72.

Ohlin, J.D., Govern, K. and Finkelstein, C., eds. (2015). Cyberwar Law and Ethics for Virtual Conlicts. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sulek, D. and Moran, N. (2009).What Analogies Can Tell Us About the Future of Cybersecurity. Cryptology and Information Security Series, 3, pp. 118-131.

Weber, R. (2010). Internet of Things: New Security and Privacy Challenges. Computer Law & Security Review, 26 (1), pp. 23-30.

[1] Davis, J. (2007). Hackers Take Down the Most Wired Country in Europe. Wired, [online] Available at: https://www.wired.com/2007/08/ff-estonia/ Accessed on [19.12.2017].

[2] Flanagan, B. (2016). Hacked Asteroids Destroying Earth and Other Cybergeddon Scenarios. Knowledge Hub, [online] Available at: https://www.worldgovernmentsummit.org/knowledge-hub/hacked-asteroids-destroying-earth-and-other-cybergeddon-scenarios [Accessed 20.12.2017].

[3] Cyber Leaders: A Discussion with the Honorable Eric Rosenbach. (2014). Centre for Strategic & International Studies,

Available at: https://www.csis.org/events/cyber-leaders-discussion-honorable-eric-rosenbach [Accessed on 20.12.2017].

[4] Reveron, D. (2017). How Cyberspace is Transforming International Security. Faculty insight at Harvard Extension School, [online] Available at: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/inside-extension/how-cyberspace-transforming-international-security [Accessed 28/12/2017].

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Specialist in global security and nuclear disarmament. Excited about international relations, curious about cognitive, psycho- & neuro-linguistics. A complete traveller.

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IoT Solution World Congress

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From 16 to 18 October, the IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC) will be held in Barcelona, this event organized by Fira de Barcelona on technology in the industrial internet will be attended by more than 250 world experts who will show us real applications of IoT that are changing the different industrial environments.

Iot is a unique event dedicated exclusively to bringing together IoT suppliers and industry in order to help them increase their company’s productivity through this technology. After three editions, the event has become a world reference for the industrial sector, the 2018 edition will continue to showcase the latest industrial innovations of IoT to provide visitors with the experience and strategies of the latest vanguard needed to capitalize on IoT. It will also have more than 300 exhibitors spread throughout the event.

For this year’s edition, IoT SWC has established new thematic axes on which more than 100 events planned at its Congress will revolve: These include energy and supplies; manufacturing of goods; health care; construction and infrastructures; open industrial transport; enabling technologies; blockchain and artificial intelligence. The main focus will be on transformation in the work environment thanks to IoT programmes, as well as the digital connection of the entire value chain of a product; the impact of industrial automation on employment; the safety of autonomous vehicles; intelligent infrastructures in cities…

Among the leading companies in this sector we can find: Huawei, Google Cloud, Intel, Microsoft, Telit, Vodafone, Kaspersky, Orange, Telefonica…. all of them explaining their experience on the Internet of things.

The main novelty of this year is the blockchain Solutions World. This theme will be based on cyber-currencies as bitcoin, as well as on the days focused on cryptoeconomy and investment opportunities in businesses that already use this mechanism. It offers the different sectors a platform to manage digital assets, such as property titles, health data, financial data, etc. The BlockChain will also have a practical focus and will include case studies and monographic lectures.

On the other hand, enabling IoT brings to the device network a connection that communicates seamlessly over the Internet, transforming the way we live and work. On farms, IoT’s wireless sensors can transmit soil moisture and nutrient information to agricultural experts across the country. IoT alarm systems, equipped with batteries that last for years, provide owners with long-term protection.

Finally, one of the most important topics will be IoT Healthcare , This advance will transform the care and treatment of patients, the maintenance of healthcare equipment and the way in which it manages a hospital with the safety and innovation of healthcare solutions. The use of the IoT mechanisms in health care provides industries, personal health care and healthcare payment applications with a broad increase in several specific user cases. At the same time, we will be able to see several cases of IoT use in health care, seeing how they are gaining speed and focusing on an exponential growth of the reality of connected health care.

As a complement, the Testbeds area will be opened again, where test benches will be exhibited to see the real operation of IoT applications. The shared events provide a commercial and knowledge platform for various industrial sectors and will take place from 16 to 18 October at Fira de Barcelona.

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Technology, The 21st Century’s Way To Enhance Your Home Decor

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Have you ever thought about using electronics to decorate your home? Technology is essential in many aspects of our daily lives nowadays. So, if we have incorporated it in our everyday routine – at work, at the gym, while we use public transportation… Why shouldn’t we integrate it into the decoration of our home too? Turning your house into a smart-home fully equipped with the latest devices doesn’t have to mean setting taste and aesthetics aside. You only need to know what to look for.

Technology has become a key element in every space, and it is a safe bet to create a comfortable, versatile and full-of-style ambiance. It doesn’t only make our lives easier and funnier with its innovation, but it also brings a sophisticated design and a high aesthetic value to the rooms. It must be treated as a decorative feature, making it part of the compositions. The use of materials such as aluminum and the various locations where you can place the televisions and audio systems –walls, floors, ceilings and tables, make the mimicry of technology easier in any style of decoration.

There are plenty of electronic devices that you can integrate into your home to make it modern, prettier and more comfortable, such as these three high-end suggested by Espacio Home Design Group.

Home automation system

Colours, textures and furniture are very important to make our homes comfortable, but they are not the only things to be taken into account: sound also plays an important role. Your sense of well-being is enhanced when all these factors are combined, improving your quality of life, and you can create the perfect ambience by combining the latest audio and video technologies available on the market.

The state-of-the-art device in the the field of smart homes technology is the home automation system. Automation is a system that allows you to setup a majority of actions to be performed in your home through technology. Its intelligent programming allows you to save energy while it lets you control all devices you have installed in your home via remote management.

Sound systems and speakers

Music is capable of filling spaces, changing them and turning them into something completely different. We all have a special song, or special songs, for every occasion; many of our memories are associated with a certain soundtrack. That’s why it becomes such a fundamental element when it comes to creating an ambience for your home. So dust off that music library, because now is the time to make the most of it by integrating it into your home decor.

When enjoying the ideal sound there are various elements to consider: the devices, the format of the original music and its compression. When enjoying the ideal sound there are various elements to consider: the devices, the format of the original music and its compression. You have different options to achieve the perfect sound quality: Speakers, amplifiers, players, multiroom systems… Nowadays all the best and most exclusive design brands can provide you with the most exclusive and elegant products especially designed to match your home decoration style –no matter what this is.

Multiroom

The best and latest sound system for smart-homes is the multiroom system. Multiroom -also known as multizone sound-, is a technology that makes it easy to play music from any kind of source in all the various spaces inside your home. The sound is managed through a connection between the different audio devices, interconnected through the wifi network. It’s so easy that you can even use your mobile to choose what music you want to listen to while you enjoy a relaxing bath – without having to leave the room.

Home cinema and video systems

There are two options to enjoy the “Seventh Art” at home: either you build your own small-scale movie theater, or you install a home cinema system in your living room along with a big Smart TV screen. At Espacio Home Design Group you can find highly exclusive brands such as Bang & Olufsen, Bowers & Wilkins, Architettura Sonora, Scena and Crestron, who are specialists in this kind of smart-home technology.

Depending on the available space, you will have to place various speakers throughout the living room to get the best possible experience. However, if your house allows it and you decide you want a full movie-theater room, you will have the chance to build a unique and intimate space to relax and enjoy.

The design of home cinema an dedicated cinema system is elegant and modern, but also versatile, so you can easily integrate it within the rest of the decoration of your home. The possibilities are endless, the result will be excellent, efficient and balanced. If you like movies and are passionate about the culture of the image, you need one of them at your place.

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Cyberattack Momentarily Pauses Trading at Bitfinex Crypto Exchange

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DDoS attacks have become common in recent days. There have been many digital currency exchanges that have been targeted by hackers over the years in these short attacks that make the networks unavailable momentarily. The latest victim of the attack has been Bitfinex, which is among the leading exchanges in the world.

The attack forced the exchange to be closed briefly on Tuesday during the morning hours. The attack was typical of previously recorded attacks in other exchanges and the objective was to disrupt the services. DDoS attacks are known to be quite potent and capable of shutting down even the strongest systems.

Bitfinex Confirmed the Veracity of the Attack

The communication team at Bitfinex came out to clarify the issue after users reported issues with the system. A message from the company’s website indicated that the attack was indeed carried out on one of the company’s service providers, which resulted in a service outage for a while. Several users had already noted the system was behaving in a slow and passive manner.

The statement from the company explained that the issues observed were as reported due to the overloading caused in the systems by the said attack. The attack had ramifications on the markets as the price of Bitcoin fell by 2%.

The financial markets like forex, stock, and even crypto rely a lot on the news coming out from the media. Media channels that carry crypto trading information can momentarily influence what is going on in the markets as the recent attack has shown.

Even though the recent attack has had an effect on the market, they will be reversed in due course especially since services at the exchange have gone back to normal. As of 11 a.m. ET, Bitfinex was said to have restored its normal operations. The company also assured users that they were doing everything to follow up on the situation. Earlier news from the company was however conflicting since the attack was not mentioned. The company had instead chosen to claim that a planned maintenance was ongoing.

Regarding the extent of the attack, only trading operations were affected the most. As Bitfinex has revealed, the user data for its clients was not compromised nor exposed to risk. There has not been any major attack that compromised clients’ funds in recent history.

Bitfinex has been on the market for over five years now. The company has had an interesting journey since it was established in Hong Kong. Over the years, the company has had a fair share of challenges and successes. In overall, its successes have been more profound as it occupies a formidable position in the market today.

When it was founded, its main goal was to act as a peer-to-peer exchange for bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency at the time. As time went by and the market diversified, the currency exchange platform also grew and accommodated other cryptocurrencies as well. The history of attacks on this exchange and others is quite familiar to crypto traders. Last year, another major attacked that targeted various exchanges also hit Bitfinex.

Attacks on Exchanges are Common

One of the few major attacks that resulted in the loss of bitcoin was the famous attack of August 2016 where over 100,000 bitcoin were lost.

Security is often a major challenge for all digital financial platforms. There have been many efforts done over the years to overcome security challenges and there has definitely been an improvement in this area. The attackers on the system are however always bolder as time passes. This year, attackers stole crypto units of a minor digital currency to the tune of nearly $500 million in value. This happened on a well-known Japanese exchange, Coincheck. Youbit, a South Korean exchange that has a substantial number of users also lost nearly 20% of its digital assets after a successful attack on the system was performed.

There are indeed many more cases recorded over the world as attacks on exchange platforms are rampant. One of the most famous attacks was in 2014 when Mt. Gox, the Tokyo-based exchange was successfully attacked with profound losses. Assets of over 700,000 users were lost in the process and the exchange came tumbling down. This attack was major because the exchange was at the top of the market at that time.

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