In his recent State of the Nation address, Vladimir Putin said that if challenged by another state, Russia’s response would be swift, harsh and ‘asymmetrical’. An unusual word, but anyone who has been paying attention to the developments in cyber warfare will know what he means. Despite Russia pulling back more than 100,000 soldiers positioned on the Ukrainian border, British troops will shortly join Ukrainian counterparts to prepare for any misadventures from the Kremlin. And if a conflict were to escalate, the action may not be limited to faraway battlefields. It might involve cyberattacks, which would hit us at home. This, too, is a threat the Ministry of Defence seeks to prevent.
For years, the MoD has treated cyber warfare as a dangerous possibility, but in the next conflict — wherever it might be — British officials expect cyberattacks to be the new reality.