The concept of warfare has changed over the years, and today, it revolves around cyberattacks. There is a visible buildup of Russian troops at the border of Ukraine and Belarus. That is a matter of concern, and NATO has cautioned about possible attacks in the cyber world. In its words, the West might have to be ready for a "fully-fledged Russian invasion" of Ukraine. It added that such an invasion could have an attempted coup, cyberattack, and sabotage elements. Usually, the countries at war are known, but not the weapons deployed. Missiles have become outdated.

It is now the age of attacks where secrecy shrouds the attacker's identity. The location from where the attack originates remains a secret, and agents' travel is eliminated because the attackers operate from remote locations. Obviously, it is difficult to take preemptive action.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Moscow could apply pressure on Western allies through different forms of aggression apart from troops at the borders. It seems Russia is already carrying out military drills near the borders.

Cyberattacks could paralyze countries

Someone sitting at an undisclosed location could paralyze any part of society by pressing a button or flicking a switch. That is what an attack of this type can do.

In May last year, the United States faced it when a cyberattack on the U.S. pipeline carried out by DarkSide. Those who carry out such attacks may not have the strength to carry a loaded gun and pull the trigger, but have the power to disable a computer network and hold others to ransom. The Kremlin is augmenting its forces on various fronts on land and water.

NATO is also responding to the threats. America has kept 8,500 troops on high alert for deployment to Eastern Europe, but Russia insists it does not intend to invade Ukraine. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the Russian Federation did not favor war, but it does not want to see its interests ignored. Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.

During the conversation, President Putin said the proposals put forth by the United States and NATO on security do not address the main concerns of Moscow. However, he said he would examine the proposals before taking any decision.

Brain and not brawn necessary for cyberattack

The standoff over Ukraine is a tension-filled scenario. The Department of Homeland Security has cautioned that the U.S. response to a possible Russian invasion could lead to a cyberattack against America. This is based on a DHS bulletin dated Jan. 23, 2022. It indicates Russia has a "range of offensive cyber tools that it could employ against U.S. networks." It also said the nature of attacks could vary from low-level denial of service to something that could target critical infrastructure.

Attacks of this type require a brain and not a brawn.

The U.S. faced cyberattacks in the past

Cybercriminals based in Russia conducted a destructive cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline in May 2021. It disturbed operations that gave rise to widespread outages across the country. Then there was another incident related to the SolarWinds breach in 2020. The attack allowed hackers to gain access to sensitive data of essential government departments. An official of Homeland Security revealed to the media that the United States is on a "heightened alert" for these attacks given the "geopolitical landscape."