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Stop Cyber Warfare Before It Happens

2884 words - 12 pages

Shortly after the horrendous violations of human rights by the Nazi’s, in 1949 the Geneva Convention was created. This fourth treaty was established to create the rules and regulations of what is expectable in times of warfare. It gives protection to civilians in times when war tares families and countries apart. President Obama speaking on the importance of the fourth Geneva Convention stated, “We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend…And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard” (“President”). Today Americans face a new type of conflict, one that many consider as the fifth breed of warfare, and answers by the name cyber warfare (“Threat”). Peculiarly, cyber warfare is the only type of quarrel unrestrained by international laws protecting civilians. The necessity of an international treaty can be viewed when examining the dangers of cyber warfare and the abilities of Russia and the United States to spark a cyber conflict.
“The reality,” Claims Michael Chertoff in a 2008 issue of Regulations & Governance, “is that cyber attacks are not decreasing; in fact, they are increasing in frequency, sophistication, and scope” (480-84). Chertoff’s declaration looses all of its severity when it reaches the ears of a person who lacks understanding of what a cyber attack is. Cyber attacks, cyber terrorism, and cyber warfare each have a similar definition. It refers to generating mayhem by way of disrupting computer systems; this attack aims at unsettling governments (“Information”). However, knowing what a cyber attack is does not shed light on the extreme danger of one.
Every day, thousands of United States civilians exploit structures reliant on computer systems. From taking a shower to turning on a light, people are tapping into computers. Computers monitor water purification plants constantly. Electrical grids are controlled by computers. Until granting consideration to it, computers and the impact they have on individual lives, go undetected. Americans exist in cyber cocoons. Take airlines, for example, if a cyber attack were to succeed against an airline, airplanes could crash killing thousands. A neo 9/11 could occur without a single terrorist or foreign enemy ever having to touch U.S. soil. On the other hand, consider an attack against one of the 104 nuclear power plants in the United States (Dedman). A skilled enemy could hack into a nuclear power plants computer system, and within minutes overheat the volatile nuclear reactor.
Perhaps cyber attacks of this sort would seem like nothing more than fear mongering and science fiction; however, such an attack has already occurred. Last year a virus dubbed Stuxnet attacked Iran’s nuclear power plant. Stuxnet swept across unconnected computer systems until it found away into the Iranian power plants system. From there it clandestinely took control of the system and manipulated it until it was so compromised it ceased normal...

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