Washington: The CEO of FireEye, one of the leading cybersecurity companies in the United States, has warned that a cyberwar is likely to break out soon between the United States and enemy countries such as China or Russia. Kevin Mandia also cautioned that the American people would be hit hard by the war. Last year, Russian hackers launched cyber-attacks on key US government departments, including the US nuclear networks. FireEye was the first reported about the incident. The warning by FireEye CEO on cyberwar thus assumes significance.
‘In the near future, open warfare could erupt in the cyber realm. American citizens will be dragged into the war, whether they like it or not. Apps, as well as appliances and systems, which are used regularly, may stop functioning. Ordinary citizens do not know much about it. Suddenly, the supply chain starts getting disrupted because computers don’t work,’ FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia thereby warned that the new cyberwar would engulf the regular citizens in the United States.
FireEye CEO Mandia said as there are no rules or criteria for cyber-attacks and retaliation, it will lead to continued attacks that leave us shocked. ‘It is improbable that the rules for cyber-attacks or espionage in this area will be approved, as this area is part of asymmetric warfare. Not many countries today can beat the United States with tanks and not with aeroplanes. But in cyber, maybe that’s where they can make investments and beat us. It’s as simple as if a country’s system can be hacked, it could mean a cyber-attack on the country,’ said Mandia as he cautioned against a cyberwar.
Last year, leading IT companies in the United States such as Microsoft, SolarWinds and FireEye were hit by major cyber-attacks. The Head of Microsoft suggested it may have been the most significant cyber-attack in US history. FireEye is involved in cybersecurity and computer network projects in several US government departments. The departments also make extensive use of the SolarWinds software. The US Department of the Treasury, Commerce and Energy was hit significantly by the attack.
The key US agencies such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) had mentioned a Russian hand in the attack. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also openly admitted that Russia was behind the attack. In the wake of the recent events, the FireEye CEO’s direct warning on cyber warfare is noteworthy.
Last year, leading US Economist Nouriel Roubini warned that the first global cyber warfare would spark off. Roubini had said that ‘The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, all of which cannot respond to the United States in conventional warfare. They will, therefore, use unconventional warfare to stop the United States.’