In the coming days, the US Congress will vote to approve the US National Security Budget for 2023. Included in the text is the power for the US president to authorize against cyberattacks in “foreign cyberspace”. The law will also increase investments in cybersecurity operations.
For 2023, the United States will have US$ 858 billion in the Defense budget. Of the total, US$ 44 million will be allocated to “hunt forward” operations. In these defensive operations, US Cyber Command helps an allied nation protect itself from malicious activity on its networks.
Law creates virtual counterattack and targets enemy nations
Despite the budget saying that the president will be authorized to order intrusions in cases of “ongoing attacks on cyberspace by a foreign force”, the measure will create yet another field of tension between the United States and Russia – in addition to China and Iran.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, the US government, the UK and the European Union have accused Russia of cyberattacks and warned of the risk of Putin’s dictatorship retaliating against sanctions with hacker groups.
A few days before the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, “started” on February 24, some refineries in Europe experienced “blackouts” in their systems. Ukraine itself had government websites attacked before the start of the invasion, as a way to block the dissemination of information to Ukrainian citizens – which justifies part of the quotes about the beginning of the physical invasion.
Suspicions of these attacks fell on Russia (surprise). O Hacker group Sandworm is accused of being a cybermilitary division of the Russian armed forces. Therefore, with the authorization of a virtual counterattack, a cybernetic attack on the United States or an ally would be a legal justification (not that this changes anything at the level of espionage) for Uncle Sam to cyberattack a rival nation. And usually it’s always the same stamped stickers: China, Iran and Russia🇧🇷
With the Russo-Ukrainian war not even halfway through and accusations that Iran is selling drones to Russia, Joe Biden will use his virtual counter-attack authorization heavily in defense of Ukraine.
In 2011, to capture Osama bin Laden, the US special force Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) invaded Pakistan to carry out an operation in the city of Abbottabad, where the leader of Al-Qaeda was hiding. The Pakistani government was not informed of the military action.
At the time, the case brought discussions about violations of the sovereignty of countries to capture people wanted in other nations. But in addition to the difference between “virtual world” and real world, counter-cyberattack authorization has the defensive role. In theory, the president can only approve the operation if an attack is under way — and that attack could be carried out by a group with no government connections.
Still, even if the US Congress does not approve the text, 2022 has shown that “cyberspace” has definitely become a front in the geopolitical scenario. “Cybermilitarism” will grow stronger in the armed defenses of all nations.
With information: Cyber Scoop🇧🇷 Political and TechRadar