In a very concerning article recently reported in the British newspaper Sunday Mirror Professor Michael Clarke, a counter-terrorism and defense expert, warns that Russia will likely launch a cyber-war against the U.S. and U.K. for their role in the recent airstrikes against Syria. Professor Clarke stated, “I suspect Russia will choose not to respond in military terms. But cyber warfare is highly likely.” Clarke added, “It will be an attack on national infrastructure, not just upsetting city firms, but getting inside the transport system, or the health system, or air traffic control. It could affect everyone.” This concern has also been echoed by other experts. Ciaran Martin, director of the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre, has also revealed the threat of an attack has been ramped up to its highest level. Martin stated, “Cyber attack capabilities are an integral part of Russia’s national policy, of its way of asserting itself in the world. The NCSC will be on high alert and trying to do everything in its power to frustrate or prevent an attack.” These concerns are not limited to Brittan. Defense expert Peter Singer recently stated that America is especially vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Russia Targeting the U.S.
Similarly, American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, are also expressly wary of the potential of Russian cyber-weapons. Such cyber-weapons are already believed to be targeted at the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections. Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and chief of U.S. Cyber Command, warned that the U.S. intelligence community has no doubt that Russian trolls, bots and hackers are planning to meddle in the midterm elections this fall. Even more problematic is the potential of Russian cyber-weapons to disrupt the banking and financial systems of the U.S. This type of cyber attack is exactly what happened in the case of a Russian virus, NotPetya, that was launched against Ukraine's banking infrastructure that eventually spread into the wider internet. Columbia University researcher and cyber expert Jason Healey recently reported that Putin has the capability to carry out these attack and much worse. Healey noted that Russia is far more capable than China who – in 2015 – hacked into government records and leaked the personnel records of 4 million U.S. government workers from the Office of Personnel Management, the government agency that keeps records of U.S. security clearances, among other things. Healey wondered what would happen if Russia carried out the same type of attack with the identity of the U.S. cyber warfare taskforce.
Relevant Bible Passages
Many Bible scholars point to passages such as Daniel 12:4 as a warning of the potential dangers associated with technology. Likewise, the “wars and rumors of wars” spoken of by Jesus (Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7) certainly come to mind as we hear of any potential threat of action be it directly a military action or a more subtle action such as a cyber-attack. However, while the exact details of these prophecies are not as clear as we might like, one thing is certain. There will come a time in the future when the world will be shaken to such a degree that everyone will remember the Lord and turn to Him in recognition of His rule over the nations (Psalm 22:27-28). As much as the potential threat of a cyber-attack concerns us, we should rest in the hope that God works every event for His purpose (Romans 8:28). Still, let us pray for peace.