With the onset of Stuxnet virus on Iranian nuclear facilities 9 years ago, a new era of global battles began and the cyber world from a peripheral aspect entered into a new and untapped phase. Until that time, the term cyber was less familiar to anyone and perhaps many people in the world did not even know the correct functioning of the computer, but since then, the virtual information exchange space has dominated the whole aspect of human life.
This changed the political, economic, cultural, and even military exchanges of the world and practically defeated international organizations such as the United Nations or even the Security Council. The main reason for this was the new nature of the challenge. In fact, cyber battles were fundamentally a new issue, until that date, there was no specific international treaty for that and even current laws and regulations did not at all meet the needs Stuxnet had defined.
Basically, Stuxnet did not only target Iranian centrifuges, but also did it make the international community aware of itself and made cyber an indispensable element of the world. Some believe that cyber warfare history dates back to before 2010 and up until then, many different countries used the method of cyber-attack to invade their enemies. Nonetheless, even if we consider the history of cybercrime before that date, Stuxnet can still be a new example of cyber-attacks for a number of reasons, and the main reason is to bring physical damage from a cyber-attack to the infrastructure of a country.
Stuxnet was not a spyware or a ransomware that could only kill internal systems or steal information and then be destroyed. This computer worm was deployed to cause disruption in Iranian nuclear facilities and if not detected and controlled, it would have caused physical damage with irreparable damage.
Some US experts refer to a cyber-attack on one or a few of their critical infrastructures as a Cyber Pearl Harbor. This term means that the United States faces the critical infrastructure of its country through cyber-attacks, and in some way refers to a military strike carried out in 1941 by Japan, to the Pearl Harbor port. The Japanese attack against the United States caused heavy damage to the country, causing the United States to launch an atomic bombing of Hiroshima in retaliation.
According to the latest document released by the US Department of Homeland Security, there are 16 critical infrastructures around the world. For example, Homeland has put water and wastewater, transportation, energy, nuclear and chemical products in this category and called for more attention from the government in the face of threats to this area.
Cyber-attacks on such infrastructures may also have the purpose of spying and stealing information, but if the two countries enter into a public battle, the spy operations would naturally become the second priority and elimination of the infrastructure will take on the agenda.
In recent years, Americans have made extensive efforts to show that their power grid are exposed to the threat of hacking attacks, and under this pretext, while expanding cyber defense resources such as budget, facilities and personnel, effective measures are also being taken to put pressure on their opponents.
The attacks on vital infrastructure around the world over the past few years have been a warning to all the powers of the world. Cyber-attacks on German power grids, nuclear plant facilities in Japan, hydroelectric plant and nuclear power plant in South Korea, the Ukrainian electricity distribution company in 2015, and many more, have spread a real fear of the crisis that Cyberspace may become a national and widespread catastrophe.