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Hackernoon logoWhy Is Cybersecurity Becoming Vital in Politics by@Giorgi-M

Why Is Cybersecurity Becoming Vital in Politics

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@Giorgi-MGiorgi Mikhelidze

I'm a beginner Software developer from Georgia with a big love for all things blockchain!

The 21st century is considered to be an era of technologies. From the beginning of the 21st century, they started developing rapidly. Almost every day, we hear from social media and TV that companies create something new. Artificial intelligence is also gaining a foothold in life.

However, as good as it is to create new technologies, there are some threats to security. While artificial intelligence is a good thing and can assist people in everyday life, a lot of cybercriminals and hackers can use them to their advantage, compromising the entire society or even a country.

Cyber threats have become increasingly rampant in politics. It can be said that whoever owns the cyberspace, owns the world because everything is strongly intertwined with each other. To successfully protect oneself from these threats, it is crucial to have a decent cybersecurity system, which will detect the dangers immediately and slow them down. This article will examine why cybersecurity is becoming important in politics.

How did we get here?

One may assume that hacking, bots, trolls, and cybersecurity, in general, became popular after the 2016 US elections. But history goes way deeper than that.

The crucial point in cybersecurity could be regarded as 27 April 2007 when Russia initiated cyber-attacks on the Estonian government. It included the parliament, ministries, newspapers, etc. Most of these attacks were DDoS ones, while they also used ping floods. 

Afterward, Estonia managed to create one of the best cybersecurity systems in the whole of Europe, realizing the evil intentions of its neighbor. After one year, Georgia became the victim of Russia’s cyberattacks. As you know, there was a war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, but prior to the war, Russian hackers attacked government websites and completely shut down the Georgian network. The latter was unable to confront these threats because it was still a newly-emerged country.

While there were relatively small incidents of cyberattacks after that period, the US presidential elections in 2016 again brought forward the importance of cybersecurity. The United States accused Russia of meddling in the elections, to help Donald Trump become a president, a claim which both Trump and Russia denied. However, the Russian side indeed stole emails, which was carried out by a group known as Fancy Bear. 

The fact showed that even a powerful country like the United States could not fully avert the threats from Russia. Bots and trolls were also a part of Russia’s campaign to create an opinion in society.

In 2017 Ukraine also witnessed the series of powerful attacks, called Petya malware which damaged Ukraine’s firms, organizations, banks newspapers. Similar malware was also reported in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States. The main suspect, in this case, was also Russia. 

Russia also ‘participated’ in the 2017 French election, where thousands of emails of Emmanuel Macron were leaked. Of course, in this case, as well Russia denied any involvement.

Why is Russia a culprit all the time? 

You may have noticed that almost every case we have mentioned is related to Russia as the initiator of cyberattacks. A question may arise - why the largest country in the world pursues such an aggressive strategy. The point is that Russia has always acted like that. It wants to have an influence on any part of the world. 

As methods of warfare have become more sophisticated, now the country is trying to use cyberspace for expanding his reach, by attacking various countries in a different part of the world. Mainly Russia tries to intervene in elections and influence public opinion. While it would be explicit to directly attack a country with brute force (but we have such examples in regard to Ukraine and Georgia) cyberattacks prove to be more ‘safe’ way of warfare.

What can countries do?

As the title of the article suggests, it is now clear why having a decent cybersecurity system is essential - to avert the dangers from hackers and government-based cyber entities. Social media, in particular, has become such a sharp weapon that it is the first target of cyberattacks, while government agencies are also vulnerable. 

First of all, countries must encourage students to expand their knowledge in cybersecurity. They should allocate funds for them to get a decent education. There is a lack in many countries of a good cybersecurity expert. Secondly, they should also raise awareness of a population. While attacks mainly happen to government agencies, people are also vulnerable, and if they do not take appropriate measures, it would only make the task easier for an attacking side.

Conclusion

The time has already come where countries must pay more attention to their cyber capabilities. Everything is slowly becoming dependent on technologies. Online elections are emerging. This paves the way for hackers and cybercriminals to conduct more attacks for which every country should be ready.

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@Giorgi-MGiorgi Mikhelidze

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I'm a beginner Software developer from Georgia with a big love for all things blockchain!

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