This understanding of cyberwar is shared today by many astute military thinkers. For example, in a recent interview with the Russian Council on International Affairs, Commander Steven Germy, military pilot, personnel officer, professor of strategy at the University of Plymouth in the UK, one of the recognized Anglo-Saxon military theorists said: “Cyber weapons are interesting. It began to penetrate into some very difficult areas, where the question arises, is a cyber attack a force attack? It can be said that if it brings with it damage and destruction, then this is indeed a power attack, but if it leads to some other results, then this is an even more curious phenomenon. We do not know whether we should call them attacks. For example, the damage to Iran’s information technology and nuclear potential looks like an attack, but the question of whether it was an act of war or an act of using force, or a little of both, remains open. In my opinion, the war with the use of cyber-weapons may differ from the war described by Clausewitz. ”
No less interesting and subtle is the use of cyber weapons in the course of traditional, customary military operations, where the main focus is on lethal and non-lethal physical means of destruction. Those. in the wars of Clausewitz, Zhamini, Svechin, etc.
The analysis of this issue should be based primarily on a careful review of the experience gained in the use of cyber weapons in the course of conventional combat operations. By combat, we mean the full military cycle or, in accordance with modern military terminology, Boyd’s full cycle, including reconnaissance operations. At the same time, we will not include in our analysis the use of cyber weapons for disabling information resources, which took place, for example, during Operation Cast Lead in the conflict between Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza region, or with the Russian-Georgian war. In these cases, it was rather a question of using cyber tools to increase the effectiveness of information, content communication wars.
Almost the first case of the practical use of cyber weapons in the course of hostilities was recorded in September 2007. September 6, 2007 Israeli aviation dealt a blow to the territory of Syria. In the north-east of the country, an object was completely destroyed. During Operation Orchid, as the airstrike was named, a squadron of Israeli bombers flew over almost the entire territory of the neighboring state, razed the object and returned unharmed to the base. At the same time, Syria has a rather serious air defense system. But at that time, radar detection systems did not work. It turned out, as one of his interviews, leading specialist of Kaspersky Lab Alexander Gostev noted, before the start of the operation, the Syrian radars were disabled using a powerful radio signal from the outside. According to many experts, a “logical bomb” was put in the electronic stuffing of radar stations, which was somehow activated and led to a system shutdown.
Another documented case of cyber weapon use in hostilities in the intelligence phase of the Boyd cycle was the interception in 2001 by the Iranian cyber warfare of the American reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle RQ-170 Sentinel. The device was not shot down by air defense, and captured as a result of a hacker attack by exploiting the vulnerability of GPS drone systems.
The American forces in the framework of the concept of network-centric combat operations actively used cyber-weapon during the fighting in Afghanistan. As a senior naval officer, Lt. Gen. Richard F. Mills, said recently: “As commander in Afghanistan in 2010, I can tell you that I could use my cyber operations against the enemy, having a huge impact ... I could penetrate network, hit his command and control, and in fact protect himself from his almost constant interventions in my unit to influence my operations. "
It should be noted that, in turn, the Taliban, and, ultimately, the Pakistani military intelligence behind them, did not remain in debt and themselves used cyber weapons on the battlefield. As is known, the international coalition’s losses of various types of UAVs, including heavy reconnaissance drones and drones armed with guided missiles, are measured in the course of the Afghan campaign not in units, but in dozens. At the same time, there is a number of convincing evidence that, at least, some of them were incapacitated as a result of the use of cyber-weapons, which caused the crash of drones. Along with the Taliban themselves, this is confirmed by independent Western experts in the field of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. By the way, indirect evidence in favor of the use of cyber weapon by the Taliban against the coalition forces in Afghanistan is the fact that Pakistan used cyber weapon against India during the crisis caused by the military-terrorist operation in Mumbai. About this, in particular, they write in their book “The New Digital World” E. Schmidt and D. Cohen.
A special ground for reflection on the use of cyber weapons in multidimensional complex wars is given by the war in Syria. With regard to this war, at least three important aspects can be noted that should be comprehended and used in shaping the strategy, tactics and operational actions of cyber subdivisions during combat operations.
As you know, during this year Israel launched several major air strikes against key Syrian targets. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted, strikes were delivered against "targets related to the functioning of the military defense system of the Syrian state." According to military experts, targeted cyber attacks preceded the strikes not only against air defense weapons, but also Syrian government and military control systems. That is, in this case, cyber weapons were used as a kind of auxiliary and providing means for launching missile strikes. Moreover, the task of the cyberudars was not so much the disabling of the air defense systems, as the disorganization of the actions of the military and political leadership, as well as the creation of difficulties in promptly responding to the new situation emerging after the attacks.
As you know, during the Syrian war, government forces have to fight against the military units of terrorists, mercenaries and extremists dispersed throughout Syria. In a situation where anti-government units have training and supply bases in almost all countries bordering Syria, with the exception of Lebanon, the Syrian command faces the difficult task of ensuring the continued mobility of the most combat-ready military formations, their operational transfer from one sector of combat operations to another, and also the creation of powerful groups capable, in accordance with classical doctrine, to provide the decisive advantage of forces and resources in a key place. All this requires the solution of two interrelated tasks. First, to ensure a high level of military art and the corresponding skills of waging not only the usual frontal warfare, under which the army is sharpened, but also effective actions against quasi-guerrilla, irregular and special forces. Secondly, maintaining sustainable multilateral systems of encrypted communications and communications between the command and units directly involved in hostilities.
Although generalizing materials related to cyber attacks on communications systems, accompanied by the breaking of ciphers of secure communication systems, have not yet appeared during the Syrian war, there are quite a few Syrian independent Western sources and electronic resources that have traditionally been associated with sources in Israeli intelligence. evidence that anti-government forces are actively using cyber weapons to disable the Syrian army’s electronic communications systems, as well as breaking ciphers and distorting closed channel communication information.
The Syrian war provided invaluable material for the analysis of fundamentally new types of military formations and the organization of military operations. Perhaps the most interesting and illustrative example in this regard is the Islamist militant organization Dzhebhat an-Nusra. Analysis of the structure and methods of hostilities of this group was done by the well-known Russian blogger and military analyst Anatoly El-Murid.
“Dzhebhat an-Nusra” in addition to being one of the most combat-ready and cruel groups fighting in Syria, has, in addition, a unique structure, which allows it to stand out among others. The number of the group since its creation about a year and a half ago very quickly reached about five thousand people, after which the growth was stopped. The grouping is operated by tactical groups of 50-100 people who have excellent communication and coordination among themselves.
Other groups not belonging to An-Nusru, as well as individual militants - sometimes up to a thousand or even several thousand people - constantly gather around each tactical group. But the backbone is always the same - en-nusrovtsy in this case become the commanders of the "nailed" to them groups. The losses of An-Nusra militants are immediately replenished by reputable "outsiders."
Such an organization allows for coordinated operations of a grouping over a large area, while the level of training of commanders of combat groups is not critical - people with little command experience can manage small groups. Losses for Dzhebhat al-Nusra are also not a problem due to the continuous replenishment of their ranks.
The mystery remains the headquarters of the group. To create such a competent structure is one thing, to manage it is another. There is unverified information that the group consisted of former officers of the Iraqi Sunni Army, who occupied the middle command posts in his guard under Saddam Hussein. If this is so, then it is they who decide the management of Dzhebhat an-Nusroy, and they decide, judging by the results of its activities, quite successfully. ”
From our side, we add that, judging by the first-class equipment of the grouping, not only weapons, but also means of intelligence and electronic communications, as well as streamlined logistics, behind the grouping throughout the military conflict are powerful shadow sponsors. Probably at different stages of the Syrian war, the sponsors could change, but somehow they included Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There is also reason to believe that armaments and electronic communications came from a group of interested Western countries. Thus, in the case of Dzhebhat an-Nusra, we are dealing not only with a proxy, but with a proxy-proxy war, where the final customer and beneficiary hid behind the interim executing financier, actually the operator of the military conflict, who directly contacted and ensured the combat force .
Finally, one can not stop and on one lesson of the Syrian war. Various kinds of documentary materials, including video materials, convincingly prove that the war has been conducted for a long time with the participation of a large number of mercenaries. Moreover, they include not only mercenaries who play the role of cannon fodder from various Islamic groups, as well as the poorest segments of the population of Muslim countries, but also professional mercenaries who are used as instructors, unit commanders, and technical specialists capable of serving as complex types of conventional weapons and sophisticated types of cyber weapons. These professionals are recruited from various countries, including Western Europe, the USA, the post-Soviet space, etc.
Recently, discussions in Russia and abroad have intensified related to understanding the experience of armed conflicts of the last fifteen years and the place of cyberwar in them. For example, this autumn in Russia, the efforts of the independent expert-analytical center "Epoch" organized a Round Table "War in Cyberspace - Lessons and Conclusions for Russia". In the course of the discussion at the Round Table, the points of view of the invited experts differed diametrically. At the same time, in the “Independent Military Review”, the organizers of the Round Table proposed the following summary of its results: “During the discussion, experts recognized the problem of the incomplete conceptual apparatus in the area under consideration. In particular, the term “cyber war” has caused a heated discussion. According to most experts, for all its appeal to journalism, the use of this term in official documents can hardly be considered justified. The war affects the whole of society and is conducted in the name of achieving certain political goals in all spheres by all means available to the state. It would be naive to expect any two opposing states to wage war only in cyberspace, leaving aside their Armed forces and other state structures. More correctly, according to experts, it is necessary to talk about operations in cyberspace conducted during the war. In peacetime, such actions can be classified as a sabotage or terrorist act. ”
Discussions about terms, as well as the definition of supporters of the understanding of cyberwar, as a special kind of wars, which can be waged both independently and in the structure of complex hostilities as publicists who are not capable of serious professional analysis of hostilities, could seem harmless academic exercises if not one important circumstance.
The recently adopted United States Cybersecurity Strategy considers cyberspace as a new “battlefield”, just like land, sea, airspace or space. Both in theoretical terms and in the context of specific organizational, technical and technological measures, the Pentagon provides for the possibility of conducting both individual cyberwar and the use of cyber weapons in the framework of the so-called “single battle”. In 2012, the Israel Defense Forces adopted an official document defining the place of the cyber war in the structure of the armed forces. The document states that "cyberspace is a new theater of operations, along with land, air, sea and space ... Cyberspace can be used to conduct various kinds of isolated attacks, the essence of which is secret, as well as to support military operations." Earlier, in the framework of the doctrine of asymmetrical wars, the People’s Republic of China, on the one hand, began to consider cyber weapons as an instrument for conducting isolated independent wars, and on the other, as an integral element of large-scale possible future wars of the traditional type.
Thus, attempts by individual experts to consider cyberwar, using terms familiar to the military of past decades, organizational decisions, etc., are nothing more than a vain effort to “pour young wine into old bottles”. Moreover, such a position is harmful from the point of view of the formation of Russian kibervoysk, their personnel, the development of methods for conducting cyber operations, etc. By embarking on a similar point of view, we immediately find ourselves in a strategic loser in relation to all potential participants in the cyber arms race.
The discussions described above are largely related to the transformation of the very understanding of war. Currently, in the West, numerous military establishments and “factories of thought” serving the military departments of various countries are undergoing intensive brainstorming, conferences, and a large number of literature is published, reflecting on the transformation of wars over the past 15-20 years.
Among the strategists, the book by British General Rupert Smith, published in 2008, “Efficiency of Power: The Art of War in the Modern World” (The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World), became a bestseller. Based on the classic definition of war by Clausewitz, as organized violence aimed at achieving economic and social goals, Smith notes that in the modern world, war is no longer seen as a clash of two states, but is an interweaving of various conflicts, including “clashes of the state with terrorist networks, insurgents , irregular formations, etc. "He particularly emphasizes that in the conditions of modern military operations it is often difficult to separate combatants from noncombaries Atanta, and rear from the front.
At the Pentagon’s Army Military College, the largest conference on the understanding of the nature of modern war, recently held at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Frank Hoffman’s report Hybrid Threats: Reconsidering the Changing Nature of Contemporary Conflicts drew attention. As the short time that has elapsed since the conference shows, F. Hoffman’s report was seriously taken up by the Pentagon and is used by the current US Secretary of Defense C. Hagel and Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee M. Dempsi when developing measures to improve and enhance the combat readiness of the US armed forces.
F. Hoffman believes that the modern era is characterized by the process of hybridization, in which the traditional forms of war, cyber war, organized crime, irregular conflicts, terrorism, etc. are mixed. To characterize the new military reality, he proposed the term "hybrid war", which allows most accurately reflect the important changes in the nature of wars while preserving their unchanged nature. According to the current leadership of the Pentagon and the US Army, modern armed forces should be capable of waging a hybrid war in all its varieties.
A similar understanding of war is reflected in perhaps the most popular book on military strategy and tactics, published in the last year, the work of D. Kilkallen “Coming down from the mountains: the coming era of the war in the cities” (Out of the Mountains: ), as well as in E. Simpson's bestseller “War from Zero: Twenty-first Century Battles as Politics” (War from Ground Up: Twenty-first century Combat as Politics (Crisis in the World Politics)), which was highly praised by the leading military theorist and modern historian M. van Creveld.
Even a brief enumeration of these works is enough to understand that the prevailing trend of modern military thought, reflected in practical measures held in the leading armies of the world, is an understanding of the changed nature of the war, turning it into a complex phenomenon.
Modern war is a multi-dimensional process. It can participate in the course of a single conflict in its separate stages or at the same time a variety of actors: states, terrorist networks, rebel formations, mercenary units, groups of armed religious fans, private military companies, etc. At the same time, actors can have completely different military organizational structures and join coalitions among themselves and form hierarchies of the most unexpected configuration. Modern warfare can be fought on all five "battlefields", and on several, and even on one of them. Bear the nature of the conflict is not only high or low, but variable intensity. Armed conflicts can take the form of direct clashes, as well as proxy wars, where one or several participants in direct hostilities are essentially mercenaries acting in the interests of the conflict operator, who in turn serves the final initiators and beneficiaries of the war. In wars of the twenty-first century, civil wars can be intertwined with interstate conflicts. Classical military actions can be accompanied or replaced by terrorist attacks, fleeting operations of special forces and destructive cyber attacks against civilian and military critical infrastructures, etc.
The complexity, dynamism, arrhythmia, entanglement and multi-factorism of modern warfare suggest the emergence of a new type of war, which can be called multidimensional nonlinear wars. It is important to adequately understand in what areas and aspects of modern multidimensional non-linear war the use of cyber weapons can give the maximum result. At the same time, the conditions for maximal asymmetry of using cyber-weapons on the “battlefield”, which are manifested in achieving the best ratio between effect and cost over as long as possible, need to be determined.
It seems that by and large, there are three main directions for the use of cyber-weapons on the "battlefield".
First, cyber weapons are very effective in countering network-centric or modern modification of them with network-centric hostilities. It is this concept that adheres today to the armies of all high-tech states and, above all, the United States. Central to network-centric hostilities is to ensure maximum information awareness of units on the “battlefield” and to maintain information flows between the command, combat and rear units. To solve these tasks, it is important not only to fill the information flows, but also, most importantly, the means of their guaranteed and uninterrupted delivery to all participants of central network operations. In this sense, it is obvious that the disabling of telecommunication channels connecting units on the battlefield, other combat units, both among themselves and above all with command, logistics, and other structures, is the most effective way to combat network-centric wars With the development of communication channels, the hierarchical network crumbles, and its participants turn into a simple multitude of structures that are not adapted to the conduct of independent combat operations under conditions of uncertainty and information hunger. It is also clear that such a task in modern conditions can only be solved by cyber weapons. Various kinds of combat computer programs in recent decades have repeatedly proved their effectiveness in terms of disabling complex, well-protected telecommunication systems of the most diverse types.
Secondly, the third industrial revolution is unfolding before our eyes. As always in stories Humanity's new production technologies are being introduced first of all in the military. According to RAND, this year already 2% of all military equipment used in the United States is automated or robotic. According to estimates of military experts, in the next three to five years, this proportion will increase multiply, at least to 15-20%. Today, the most well-known unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, which, in fact, are automated combat or reconnaissance vehicles, partially involving remote control of man. At the same time, this year the US Army has already begun to receive samples of fully robotic technology. It is clear that any automated, and even more so robotic device used on the "battlefield" or for reconnaissance purposes, has an autonomous control unit with embedded software. And as soon as there is a control unit and programs embedded in the hardware, the possibilities for using combat software as a means of destroying or intercepting control over automated or robotic combat devices immediately open up. Actually, as we noted above, there are already the first and non-unit cases of using cyber-weapons on the “battlefield” to counteract automated combat tools. There is no doubt that perhaps the most promising direction for the use of cyber-weapons on the “battlefield” is precisely the fight against automated combat devices, such as drones, involving partial remote control by a human operator, as well as combat robots, which every year in high-tech armies will become More.
As it does not seem fantastic, there is one more closely related to the above, but not identical, direction of using cyber weapons. Scientific and technological progress is currently at an explosive pace. And what is currently in the laboratories of DARPA, IARPA and similar institutions in other states will be on the “battlefield” tomorrow. Today, one of the most promising areas in the assessment of military technologists and specialists is the most diverse solutions in the field of combat cyborgization. In practice, at this stage, it is primarily about creating various kinds of exoskeleton, multiply enhancing the capabilities of special forces soldiers, implants, allowing to exercise control over the soldiers, various kinds of direct human-computer interfaces and even using nanomedical robots that perform their functions on battlefield". It is clear that the creation and practical application in the military conditions of integrated human-computer systems makes it possible to use cyber weapons not only against automated and robotic combat devices, but also directly against manpower on the “battlefield”, and first of all, against special forces soldiers.
Thirdly, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly becoming conflicts of attrition. As a rule, in such conflicts, the defending side fights with various kinds of extremist and terrorist military formations on its territory, which are supplied, prepared and controlled from the territory of the countries-operators, which in fact are proxies-war, sometimes being in turn representatives of countries or supranational groupings of genuine conflict beneficiaries. At the present time, due to many considerations, primarily of a foreign policy and economic nature, the defensive side, as a rule, is tied up in the implementation of any forms of counteraction to the countries-operators. As a result, the conflict is being imposed on exhaustion, in which, despite the systematic local military victories of the attacked side, there is a total destruction of the economic, social structure of society, the entire material and technical and civil infrastructure of the country that has been subjected to aggression or initiated internal rebellion. Under certain conditions, in the long term, medium-term military victories can result in at least difficult economic problems or even political defeat.
In this sense, cyber weapons can act not only as a means of asymmetric warfare and an equalizer, but also an instrument of fair retribution. Thanks to the characteristic features of the cyberwar, which were described in detail in previous articles of the cycle, the possibility of using cyber-weapons against the military, political, financial-economic and industrial infrastructures of the country-operator opens up. Moreover, the extent of the damage caused as a result of cyber attacks is a regulated parameter, and, accordingly, can force the country-operator and the beneficiaries behind it to refuse to further participate in such conflicts.
Cyber weapons used on the battlefield in multidimensional non-linear wars can be divided into five main groups.
First of all, this is the so-called network cyber weapon, where various types of networks are used to deliver multifunctional computer programs to targets and, above all, the Internet in its classical sense. As a rule, when using cyber weapons, the Internet serves as a kind of gateway that allows you to get into closed, internal military and civilian networks, including critical objects. In relation to multidimensional non-linear warfare, this type of cyber weapon is mainly used not directly on the battlefield, but for operations against political and military command and staff facilities, as well as defeating various types of auxiliary and rear structures, including civilian networks.
Another element of the cyber warfare palette used on the battlefield is the so-called communication cyber weapon. All automated and most of the robotic weapons maintain constant communication with external operators. Accordingly, this type of cyber weapon is a program code that distorts, blocks and replaces the exchange of signals between a remote operator and a combat automated or robotic device. Thanks to this type of armament, both the destruction of the object and the interception of control can be carried out, as was the case with the American drone in Iran.
Perhaps the most unpleasant for most countries of the world, including Russia, is the so-called pre-installed cyber weapon. The vast majority of military cyber-devices built into high-tech, automated and robotic weapons are built on the basis of microprocessors and other electronic components, produced mainly by companies within the jurisdiction of the United States, Great Britain and Taiwan. Accordingly, this element base contains a pre-installed control software, which most likely contains various kinds of “logic bombs”, “bookmarks”, etc. They are triggered by signals transmitted by auxiliary software codes, and incapacitate the weapons on which the appropriate hardware units are installed. With regret, we have to admit that due to the collapse of the Russian electronic and radio industry not only in the civilian sector, but in some cases in the military sphere foreign element base is used. In this regard, ensuring the ability to conduct full-fledged offensive and defensive cyber warfare, as well as the use of cyber weapon in the framework of traditional conflicts by Russian cyber warfare, urgently requires accelerated modernization of the Russian high-tech industry and production of its own element base, completely covering at least the needs of the defense industry.
Literally in recent months in the United States, and perhaps in Israel, the so-called penetrating cyber weapon has been put on combat duty. Corresponding developments were conducted in the last years of the Soviet Union. However, due to the events related to the collapse of the country at that time, they never left the experimental stage. Penetrating cyber weapons is a true revolution in cyber weapons. If a traditional cyber weapon for its delivery requires the presence of networks or communication channels between the operator and the attacked military equipment, the penetrating cyber weapon will do without it. In the most general form, its mechanism of action is based on the possibilities of targeted changes in acoustic, optical, and other media with a corresponding modification of signals received by external sensors of high-tech weapons. With the help of these effects, interruptions in the work of the attacked military equipment, or the complete destruction of the controlling computerized units of this technology, are provided. During the past and this year, the necessary experimental tests of penetrating cyber weapons were completed and they entered the cyber war of the United States and, possibly, Israel.
Finally, in the United States, Russia, probably in China and Israel, electromagnetic weapon with a different radius of action, completely disabling military equipment, where on-board computers, avionics and other computerized units are installed. As a result of the action of this type of weapon, the corresponding element base, which is based primarily on the silicon component, is completely incapacitated, as they say, “burned out”. It should be noted that this type of weapon belongs to offensive weapons and implies a preemptive strike at the deployment stage of combat units during the conflict. At the stage of the actual fighting, where armed units come into direct contact, and even more so in hostilities with the participation of irregular formations, mercenary divisions, terrorist network structures, this kind of weapons is not applicable. It does not separate its own and others, and affects all cyber devices in the radius of action of electromagnetic weapons.
Summing up, it can be concluded that cyber weapons and cyber warfare are an important, effective and economical component of combat operations in a multidimensional non-linear warfare. Accordingly, the country's ability to conduct cyber war as fighting exclusively in cyberspace, and to use cyber weapons in the course of a multidimensional non-linear modern warfare is the most important indicator of the combat readiness of the armed forces of the state and the guarantor of its national security.
Completion of the formation of Russian kibervoysk and their exit to the level of full combat readiness is one of the key components provided for by the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation before 2020, the system of “Measures aimed at anticipating or reducing the threat of destructive actions by the aggressor state (coalition of states)” .