As they enter a period of critical elections, the US and European countries are being confronted by a series of threats from cyberspace. Electronic voting infrastructure and networks of political groups have recorded repeated intrusion, while strategic leaks of compromising documents have sought to influence public opinion.
State-sponsored hackers: hybrid armies?
Alert - No5 - 30 January 2015
Patryk Pawlak, Gergana Petkova
Cyber-attacks are rarely disconnected from political realities. CyberBerkut – a pro-Russian group of ‘patriot’ hackers – has, for example, hacked German government websites in retaliation for the political support offered to Kiev by Berlin. The Syrian Electronic Army – a hacker collective thought to be linked to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad – regularly targets Western media outlets, most recently Le Monde.
Due to this blurring of the virtual and physical worlds, governments, which are familiar with stateless actors such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), may now have to learn to deal with equally hostile, amorphous and often state-sponsored ‘hacktors’.