The United States may soon sanction a series of destructive and retaliatory cyber attacks on North Korea to teach the country's dictator a lesson.
According to reports, the United States has been planning to launch cyber attacks on targets in North Korea for a while now, with most of its spying and cyber warfare capability aimed at the island nation.
The decision by the Trump administration to engage North Korea in a prolonged cyber warfare comes not long after Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, warned about the dangers of cyber warfare and its effects on innocent citizens.
“Episodes of cyber warfare between states already exist. What is worse is that there is no regulatory scheme for that type of warfare, it is not clear how the Geneva Convention or international humanitarian law applies to it.
“I am absolutely convinced that, differently from the great battles of the past, which opened with a barrage of artillery or aerial bombardment, the next war will begin with a massive cyber attack to destroy military capacity... and paralyse basic infrastructure such as the electric networks,” Guterres said.
According to The Telegraph, senior US intelligence sources believe that there had been a “nearly unprecedented scramble inside the agencies responsible for spying and cyber warfare” with an aim to 'bring Kim Jong-un into line'. Recent activities by US agencies also include recruiting analysts who speak Korean, and activating military intelligence personnel who are in reserves.
The United States is also working on a new Nuclear Posture Review that will allow it to respond to crippling cyber attacks with nuclear weapons. According to the draft Nuclear Posture Review which is yet to be ratified by President Trump, the establishment wants to develop new 'low-yield' nuclear weapons that will not be as powerful as existing 'megabombs' but will still keep the nuclear threshold at existing levels.
'Russia and China are contesting the international norms and order we have worked with our allies, partners, and members of the international community to build and sustain. Some regions are marked by persistent disorder that appears likely to continue and possibly intensify. These developments have produced increased uncertainty and risk,' said the Pentagon.
It remains to be seen if Trump intends to launch cyber attacks on North Korea in the coming days or if he'll wait for the next big provocation, like another ransomware attack or an attack on the US' critical infrastructure organisations.
The UK's army chief has also warned about cyber threats posed by Russia and other countries and the need for the country to prepare against such attacks.
"State-based competition is now being employed in more novel and increasingly integrated ways and we must be ready to deal with them. The threats we face are not thousands of miles away but are now on Europe’s doorstep – we have seen how cyber-warfare can be both waged on the battlefield and to disrupt normal people’s lives – we in the UK are not immune from that," he said.