This world is a place of turmoil and threats. Every country, organization, persons or military from around the world claim, from time to time, that it or they has/have more power than others. Recently, a new such group has surfaced in print and electronic media. They are the SEA (Syrian Electronic Army). This group has thus far hacked Twitter and the websites of Al Jazeera, New York Times, CNN, Washington Post and several other giants of the media.
Syrian Electronic Army:
After the rise of civil war in Syria, the situation became more aggravated when international powers started supporting the Free Syria Army with intel, finance and arms. On one hand people are dying regularly in great numbers; on the other, the SEA has started hacking media and social media like twitter, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera etc, striking panic in the media around the globe.
The reaction of USA:
The Secretary of State John Kerry recently expressed that a US military assault is likely against Syria. He claimed that the US has been provoked to take such decisive action because the Syrian Army has been allegedly utilizing mass destruction chemical weapons on innocent people and killing women and children.
The Threats of Syrian Electronic Army:
The Syrian Electronic Army is threatening America stating that if Syria is attacked by the American military, they have many surprises for the world. The Parliament of UK is totally against any military strike against Syria.
According to one of the SEA spokesperson, they have thousands of members and many more are recruiting themselves voluntarily to the cause mand doing so with regularity. The SEA also claims that it has a special operations division. In addition, every member of the SEA is prepared and capable of fighting a war against the media. The SEA does not think it is a hacking group, rather, it considers itself to be an army. Moreover, the SEA denies Chinese support; “neither Chinese nor Russians are helping us. It is just an attempt to show that Syrians are not capable of carrying out operations without foreign help”. However, this is not the case. The SEA has been seized once and it has re-launched again.
Banking system, nuclear stations, power Grids, defense platforms, airports, financial institutions and of course prominent media giants.
In December 2012, when US Navy was already facing 110,000 cyber attacks every hour, the former CIA chief broke a news that a cyber attack could down all the significant U.S. sites at once and an economic downturn may occur which might be as serious as the 9/11 incident, calling it a ‘Cyber 9/11’.
Keeping chief’s suspicion in mind, the sites indicated by him belonged to the banking system, essential infrastructure, nuclear stations and power grids. All these are essentials for a nations economy which, if compromised, could be catastrophic.
If America makes good on it’s promise to launch a military strike against Syria, and all indications show that it will and if the SEA can make good on their threats to mount an effective retaliation, the world could be on the precipice of a new type of warfare – a cyber warfare!
We have all heard about hacking groups engaging in what they call a ‘cyber war’ but this will be a totally different playing field. The question both sides need to ask is, can the SEA mount a serious enough challenge to impede the most powerful nation on earth and for the Americans, are they fully prepared to fight a war on two completely different fronts?
Time will tell but one thing is for certain, if this plays out as the SEA claim, modern warfare has just become a whole lot more complicated and potentially more dangerous.