Globally, we have a serious Russia-China problem; we will even more so if the Russian-Ukraine tensions gripping us escalate into actual combat.
Countless incidents of "reconnaissance-hacking" taking place for many years have granted these two nations (which have recently struck a new alliance) the ability to de facto, if not otherwise, declare that a "new era" is now the global order of things, one concurrently challenging the United States as a superpower — and NATO as cornerstones of international security.
Thus, this alliance can cause widespread destruction, and do so with little more than a series of short keystrokes.
Long-term territorial ambitions of Russia, to reclaim a former Soviet territory that at one time held the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, and those of China, which has used the period in the post-Afghanistan debacle to threaten Taiwan — as a result of perceived American weakness and a lack of motivation to protect strategic allies — now leave the world waiting to see whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s recent prediction, that this upcoming Wednesday will be the "day of the attack."
Any aggression prompting an international response threatens to potentially set the world down a path toward global war. With the Russian/Chinese alliance looking at reclaiming sovereign countries offering strategic advantages to the West, battle lines will be drawn boldly, as peripheral allies of the "bromancing" dictators, which include international hacking powers Iran and North Korea, contribute an additional element of instability to an already more than delicate situation.
For nations outside the immediate line of fire, the danger presented by a worst-case scenario here holds the potential to make many of the fears held by the heads of agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) a reality.
For approximately a decade, the Chinese and Russian militaries, along with internal intelligence agencies and their sponsored hacking outfits known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), have perpetually infiltrated critical infrastructure globally, while concentrating especially on sensitive American targets.
Although many of the more wide-ranging reconnaissance operations, like the historic SolarWinds hack, have been well-documented, it's still not fully-known just how far any attacks against America, using the collected intelligence, can go.
What we do know is that the hackers behind SolarWinds, Russia’s Advanced Persistent Threat Group Nobelium, were able to hack private companies including cybersecurity firm FireEye, as well as U.S. government agencies: DHS and the U.S. Treasury Department — as well as thousands of other entities, including ones connected to energy and infrastructure.
Although originally there was some confusion in the messaging from then-President Donald Trump as to who was behind SolarWinds, the fact that the attacks bore a close resemblance to the Russian hacking of Ukrainian entities in the Petya/NotPetya hacks of 2015-2016 led many experts to easily identify Russia as the culprit.
In those attacks, hackers also used an update to a popularly used software as the vector to install malware. The threat posed by Chinese government–backed hackers is no-less dangerous.
Previously, an incident in 2018 compromised a U.S. Navy contractor working on America’s submarine and underwater programs project at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center based in Newport, Rhode Island.
Additionally, a leaked National Security Agency (NSA) document obtained by NBC News three years earlier revealed "more than 600 corporate, private or government 'Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage' that were attacked over a five-year period, with clusters in America's industrial centers," according to the document.
The Chinese attacks included hacks against America’s critical infrastructure.
Any attacks using the intelligence collected previously would potentially allow countries like China or Russia to have a devastating impact against the U.S. from thousands of miles away.
Several weeks back, at the outset of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, DHS issued a warning regarding the increased danger of cyber-attacks.
Although many attacks have materialized globally in the aftermath of the alert, what we’ve seen recently will pale in comparison to what may potentially be waiting should Russia initiate military operations against Ukraine; a scenario provoking a global response that will likely lead to a series of Russian counterattacks in the cybersphere.
Julio Rivera is a small business consultant, political activist, writer, and editorial director for Reactionary Times. He has been a regular contributor to Newsmax since 2016. His commentary has also appeared in The Hill, The Washington Times, LifeZette, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Toronto Sun, PJ Media and more. Read Julio Rivera's Reports — More Here.
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