- In 2007, after Russia took umbrage over Estonia removing a Soviet-era war memorial, Estonia blamed Russia for a massive denial-of-service attack on government servers.
- In 2008, the Georgian government claimed Russian cyber attacks accompanied the more visible aggression of bombings and troop incursions.
- In 2010, Google and many other American companies were attacked by Chinese hackers. Almost immediately the rumor was that at least the attack on Google was geopolitically motivated, orchestrated by the Chinese government. A recent WikiLeaks data dump of American diplomatic cables backs the theory of Chinese leadership involvement. And it was Google who hacked right back, although as far as I've read, the counter hack was (perhaps wisely) limited to collecting evidence.
- A case can be made that the 2010 WikiLeak disclosures were a form of nongovernmental cyber war waged against the U.S. government (and/or other governments whose laundry was aired by these leaks). See "Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers."
Now comes visibility into perhaps the most consequential and sophisticated cyber attack yet. It is increasingly clear (though denied by all parties) that the Iranian nuclear program has been delayed, perhaps for years, by the Stuxnet worm, and that the US and Israel partnered on a very precisely targeted cyber attack on the Iranian uranium-enriching centrifuges.
I can't help but believe that the world is a safer place for a delay in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. I can't help but be pleased that this result was achieved without the messiness of a bombing campaign. And I can't help but wonder (with some concern) where the cyber warfare trend is taking all of us.
Fools' Experiments, first published in 2008, a character comments early about how dependent society has gotten on its software -- and our exposure when software goes wrong.
Intentionally being vague here to minimize spoilers, things in the novel develop to attacks on and through networked infrastructure. Including -- before fictional things get even direr -- one cyber attack very much like the Stuxnet assault on the Iranian centrifuges.
It's kinda eerie ...