The type of cyber war that the U.S. government and military are most worried about and preparing for is already in full swing in the Ukraine.
The Ukraine has found itself on the receiving end of both cyber and direct attacks by Russian groups backing a separatist movement inside their country. And despite the Ukraine's large number of hackers who have played havoc with computer systems around the world, it has found itself woefully unprepared to defend its own computer networks.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Foreign Affairs and its presidential administration have all been compromised at one time or another with many of the hacked documents appearing on the CyberBerkut website. CyberBerkut is a Moscow-based hacking group that has taken credit for attacking Ukrainian computer networks.
In addition to conducting cyber attacks, the group took responsibility for a physical attack on the Ukrainian election office destroying computer systems meant to track the elections process, said a report on Globalsecurity.org.
While U.S. forces could most likely thwart direct attacks upon their military and government facilities, American officials are less sure about defending the cyber frontier and are taking steps to buttress these walls.
Recently, the head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, called for his organization's capabilities to be better integrated into all aspects of the country's cyber security effort. This would include building cybersecurity operations into all military planning. The WSJ said other attacks have targeted Ukrainian officials involved in fighting the land war against the separatists.
The U.S. Army Cyber Command is even running field tests on how to insert cyberspace warfighting into smaller Army units on the battlefield. Here they would handle tasks such as centered on snagging tactical intelligence from the enemy's communications systems that can be put to immediate use by a commander, as well as, defending our own forces from similar incursions, Isaac Porsche, the Rand Corp. associate director, forces and logistics program told SCMagazine.com.