The dark-hearted members of the human race have found ways to exploit innovations for their own selfish means throughout time. Now, with the ever-growing global dependence on computer networks, criminals are finding new ways to disrupt lives in the real world through enterprise in the cyber one. The U.S. Department of Justice and its allies have adapted their methods and techniques over the past decade and continue to adjust to prevent the morphing illegal activities in cyberspace, whether the computer crime itself is the full intent or only part of a larger scheme.
Modeling initiatives and new research into predictive systems are required to thwart the increasingly aggressive, ever-evolving cyberattacks on both equipment and data. These efforts are part of the recommendations of a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy that calls for a more scientific approach to cybersecurity. The report criticized U.S. government and private organizations for relying on outdated forms of cyberdefense that are a step behind the latest threats.
The next “shot heard ’round the world” may turn out to be the surreptitious movement of millions of bits and bytes careening through cyberspace. Suspicions already surround the cyberactivity that took place in the weeks before Russia launched a conventional military attack against Georgia last year. And in May 2007, the removal of a bronze statue of a World-War-II-era Soviet soldier from a park in Estonia resulted not in riots in the streets but rather in what has been described as the first war in cyberspace. These incidents may indicate how adversaries—and the United States military—could deploy cyberweapons as the first line of offense prior to traditional kinetic activity.