What does a cyber future hold?

With the U.S. recently having launched missile attacks on Syria after its President Bashar al-Assad initiated a chemical attack against Syrian civilians a few days prior, some political officials now question whether U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration has the know-how and fortitude to deal with a possible escalation in the conflict. Whatever the future brings, a main goal of the U.S. airstrikes against Syria seems to be focusing on pressuring Russia to terminate once and for all its support for Assad. 

Whether or not such a ploy will work, Trump's airstrikes without congressional approval have intensified already strained relations both at home and with a few other nations' leaders. As some days have passed, various and sundry officials and other commentators have voiced praise for the move, while others joining the cacophony of opinions have begun introducing some skeptical views about the intentions of the airstrikes and what the situation in Syria might look like in coming months. 

Indeed, there are those pundits who contend that Trump's Syrian airstrikes were the basis for a tactical move to divert attention from still persistent accusations of his and some members of his administration's possible collusion with Putin's government to influence the U.S. presidential election. Others say it's a one-off operation that, even if impeding the Assad regime's air power strength for the moment, will have little lasting impact on its future military onslaughts, nor compel Putin to nix Russian support for Assad. 

What the coming weeks and months will reveal about the civil war in Syria, possible future U.S. involvement, and U.S. relations with Russia and other countries that have noted support or not for this first military maneuver undertaken by Trump, will prove interesting. Yet just as intriguing is how such physical actions between countries might be bolstered by organized assaults and spying efforts initiated in the cyber realm. 

As SC Media has covered on our website and now in this special edition focusing on cyberwarfare, any number of experts and government officials have stated again and again that Russia was involved in myriad activities that likely impacted the presidential election. However, as our Online Editor Doug Olenick notes in his “Cyber Enemies” feature, Russia, of course, is not the only country arming itself with cyberwarriors to launch advanced attacks against the U.S. or other nation-states. China, North Korea, terrorist groups and others have been enhancing their cyber capabilities to support military and other campaigns against perceived enemies. Senior Reporter Bradley Barth also shows in his story, “Extreme Hoarders: Zero-Day Edition,” that with a bevy of nations engaging in spy games, the hoarding of software bugs to leverage in various actions against other countries is an unsurprising but questionable practice for the wider public, technology firms and the governments doing the stockpiling themselves. 

Interesting times, yeah, we are living in them. I suspect now a majority of the public would agree that the current presidential administration is “embroiled in so much controversy,” as James Scott, co-founder of the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, says in this month's cover story. Why that is sad for us as a nation is that we are tethered to and overshadowed by all these controversies, all the actions the current administration takes. My hope is that a few of the future moves (whether physically or cyber-based) made by our country's leaders are done for the good of us all.

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