Internet Warfare in the Middle East: Cyberwar

With the escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied territories comes concern about a less visible threat – a second Arab-Israeli cyberwar. Possible scenarios include the release of viruses that could infect computer systems worldwide and hacker attacks on the databases of western businesses and public utility networks.

The World Today Updated 23 October 2020 Published 1 April 2002 4 minute READ

Giles Trendle

Former Middle East correspondent, The Economist, Sunday Times and CNN

Modern information and communications technology has created the phenomenon of cyberwar - information warfare waged over the Internet. It is increasingly recognised in government, military and business circles as a potential grave threat.

Cyberwar at its most benign involves distributing information through websites or e-mail to raise awareness, mobilise support and create global networks. Beyond this propaganda aspect, it can also include infiltrating and disrupting an enemy’s computer networks and databases. In this area, cyberwar has introduced a host of new weapons such as viruses, worms and trojan horses, which can wreak havoc on computer systems.

This digital warfare comes under what military theorists increasingly refer to as asymmetric warfare, where unconventional tactics are used by smaller players to counter the overwhelming conventional military superiority of an adversary.

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