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Cyberwar: How Nations Attack Without Bullets or Bombs

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Nobody has ever witnessed a true cyberwar, with escalating attacks and counterattacks in the digital realm perhaps accompanied by military combat in the real world. (A 2019 Israeli airstrike on a building in the Gaza Strip may have been the first real-world response to a cyberattack; Israel said Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian group that controls the territory, was using the building as a base for the cyber operation.) Warring nations could shut down each other’s power grids (as Russia did to Ukraine in 2015 and 2016), wipe out data centers, scramble bank records to cause financial panic, interfere with the safe operations of dams and nuclear plants and blind radar and targeting systems of fighter jets. Had the Stuxnet attack failed, the U.S. was ready with a broad cyber battle plan against Iran that would have taken out its power grids, the New York Times reported.

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