The intense clash between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un continues to heat up and, with no sign of it abating, war looks inevitable.
Both sides have shown off their military and nuclear might, but is it possible to stop this war before it starts with a few clicks of a button? Matt Morris, vice president of strategy and products at cybersecurity company NexDefense, thinks a cyberattack might be the way forward.
He said: ‘This would undoubtedly represent a better option than wide-scale conventional, or nuclear attack. But, is it truly feasible?
‘There were two precision cyber security weapons developed around the same time when the US and Israel felt compelled to intervene into the Iran’s rapidly progressing nuclear program.
‘These two digital weapons, Stuxnet and Stuxnet 2.0, are believed to have been developed around 2009 or early 2010.’
Stuxnet was credited for successfully taking down the centrifuges being used by Iran to enrich uranium, says Matt. Since then, Stuxnet has been widely discussed and debated, celebrated and bemoaned by experts and critics all over the globe.
But Stuxnet’s brother, Stuxnet 2.0, has largely gone undiscovered since that time.
He continued: ‘Stuxnet 2.0 was designed to work with the same type of Siemens industrial control systems used to monitor and control centrifuges. According to reports, it is believed that both the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs leverage the same general equipment and that Stuxnet 2.0 is simply waiting to activate once it detected Korean-language settings.’
But Matt said it’s now clear that North Korea is in a different phase of development versus where Iran was at the time.
He said: ‘US National security adviser has stated that “all options” are on the table, and it is clear that cyber security remains one of those options.
‘But given that North Korea does not connect most of its infrastructure to the outside world virtually ensures that there will not be a situation where the US can disarm them with a simple mouse click or two.’
However, citing King’s College in London, Matt explained that the US may have already leveraged its cyber capabilities before to seriously impeding North Korea’s mid-range ballistic missiles, leading to an estimated 88 per cent failure rate.
‘The bottom line is that the US is dealing with a different, more technically savvy and sophisticated foe with North Korean,’ he added.
‘But considering some level of success increasing failure rates for arms, it is possible that Stuxnet 2.0 or other similar types of future precision cyberattack may be already be partially achieving their ultimate goal.
‘If the US, though cyber means, is able to introduce uncertainty and doubt about whether or not North Korean’s missiles will even fire properly if and when the time comes, this could be hailed as a major success.’
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