The War in the Shadows: Cyberwarfare and Hacker Armies

When the Internet was first created I doubt many of us considered just how powerful of a medium for social change it could be and the impact it would have on global communications and globalization. I know I didn’t, because I was very young and I was more interested in the correlation between Legos and fun. Most people probably know or could presume that the Internet, just like cellphones, computers, etc., was initially a government-funded military project to develop a network-based communication system and though that was largely achieved, it’s military applications were initially limited and the Internet was adapted for public use. However, there’s been a recent rise in the militarization of cyberwarfare as a means of undermining competing nations or sabotaging government infrastructures and now governments that can afford to engage in such activities are arming themselves with veritable hacker armies.

Hacking is young person’s gambit, simply because most new technological and Internet-based advancements are in their relative infancy In order to offset and compensate for the rate at which technology advances, several countries have undertaken steps to recruit children from an early age into cyber-training centers or training programs. China operates a well-known system of recruiting  teenagers that are Internet savvy straight from high school and training them for cybersecurity and cyberwarfare. Due to  discoveries by Internet security firms that recent cyber attacks on U.S. businesses and government agencies have originated from China, the Department of Homeland Security is bypassing recruitment campaigns at top tech schools, such as MIT and CalTech and going straight to high schools for hacker recruitment. 

While the idea of throngs of teenagers waging cyberwarfare against one another sounds like a great movie, something that Jesse Eisenberg would no doubt star in, the fact that we’re only in the beginning stages of realizing the overall applications of cyber technology and its advancements, specifically military applications, is a bit harrowing. What’s the future of cyberwarfare and how is the average person affected by it? Traditional styles of warfare have always had a direct, identifiable affect on both a macro and micro scale, down to the individual person and they’re also typically fought by a semblance of professional soldiers and experienced veterans. Now, war will take place in the shadows and be fought by the emerging generations of tech-savvy youth.

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