This all started back in 2008 when the Russians dropped of multiple USB flash drives in parking lots around US military bases located in the middle east. These flash drives were picked up and then inserted into computers inside the various bases spreading malware across the US’s machines allowing the Russians access to a secret network called SIPRNet. The network was used by the pentagon to transmit highly classified information. This was the first major cyber warfare incident pertaining two very powerful countries and it raised many questions as to how to respond to such threats.
Following multiple attacks from various countries over the years and the failure of the US Cyber Command, to deter those attacks, President Trump nominated Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone as the commander of the United States Cyber Command. This marked a new era for the organization and the way Cyber Warfare played out in the US as the lieutenant believed offense was greatly needed in order to defend.
In August of 2018, a few months after the nomination, Trump signed the National Security Presidential Memorandum 13 which basically allowed the US Cyber Command Team operate inside foreign networks without gaining presidential approval. This showed how big of a deal securing the nation’s cyber network had become, as they were indefinitely granted freedom to operate just as the military would operate independent. Once they gained this new power, the first thing they did was to go after the Russians who had attacked them multiple times over the years.
The US shutdown Russia’s Internet Research Agency who was responsible for designing many of the social media ads which impacted the 2016 elections. In addition, they hacked into the Russian Military intelligence, sending various threats to officers and hackers who had participated in the hack against the Pentagon back in 2008. But more importantly, the US recently deployed malicious code into Russia’s power grid system giving them the ability to turn off electricity supply to homes, hospitals and schools in an instant.
The goal here was mainly to deter the Russian’s from further cyber attacks against the US but this approach was basically the same strategy used during the Cold War era. With this more aggressive strategy which uses offense as a form defence, the cyber war would not slow down in anyway without set regulations agreed upon by not just Russia and the US but by every country.