In a cyber war, the moment in which the conflict manifests its effects is nothing more than the conclusion of a series of operations carried out previously. The enemy will have silently penetrated its targets over the course of months or years, conquering hidden accesses, setting up and deploying cyber weapons perhaps based on still unknown system vulnerabilities, and at the moment of the start of hostilities the attack will appear “from the inside towards the outside”. This preparation is the most difficult, time-consuming and expensive part in a confrontation on a digital battlefield.
These are activities that have been engaging the main players on the international cyber chessboard for years and on a daily basis. When the attack is unleashed, all their secrets are revealed to the enemy, consequently an “economic” evaluation is required. In other words, the question must be answered: “Is the game worth the candle?”.
We cannot exclude that today someone belonging to the opposing front of Putin is wondering whether to “invest” his hard-earned cyber arsenal to help Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia. Obviously we are not talking about one of the 35 groups that according to some observers have responded to the call to arms of the Ukrainian Minister of Digitization, but rather of Western intelligence and military. Perhaps they have already given some information to facilitate the work of Anonymous & Co, but it is very likely that at present they are at the window to understand if and what escalation the conventional conflict will have, since a position acquired in the digital world is not wasted.
On the other hand, Russia is now a “Black Box” from the point of view of information and it is almost impossible to know what the effects of cyber attacks are. The leaked information of a possible disconnection from the Internet may suggest that perhaps some problems are being created by the attacks or perhaps that Moscow is preparing for a large-scale cyber conflict. In all this, a new problem is about to emerge that will affect the large information technology operators: on the one hand, Russian players, often suppliers of security solutions, such as Kaspersky, who are experiencing an unprecedented storm, on the other hand, large players such as Microsoft who have suspended the sale of their products to Russia, pushing an entire market towards software piracy.
A scenario to be explored is related to the release of updates, especially security ones. If US companies stop supplying them to Russian organizations and those linked to Moscow do the same to the West very quickly, millions of vulnerable systems could appear on the net and not just by contenders.