Cyberattacks are "becoming more intense and widespread" and "appears to consist primarily of criminal activity and data theft, vandalism and resource hacks, rather than attacks against infrastructure," the 2014 Deloitte Global Defense Outlook notes.
Attention focused on U.S. charges against Chinese nationals alleging theft of U.S. companies' information suggests that large nations are the typical targets for cyberattacks. Recent history, as well as the Deloitte report, suggest large, developed nations are not the only targets.
"Cyberattacks are launched against countries at every level of economic development ... developing economy status does not protect a nation against the prospect of a cyberattack," the report released Wednesday found. This conclusion is justified when considering Russia's use of cyberattacks in recent conflicts.
In clashes with its smaller neighbors, the cyberattack is a favorite tool of Russia's war machine. When going head to head with Estonia, Georgia, and most recently Ukraine, Russia has been accused of launching cyberattacks as part of their military strategy. Past actions credited to Russian cyberattacks involve blocking cellphones, crashing networks, disrupting industry, and altering government websites.
The changing face of warfare has caused a shift in spending and strategy, the report concludes. "Nations are adapting to these new [cyber] threats by applying defense and intelligence resources, as well as by forming new command structures and military services to operate in the new domain of cyberspace." The advantage in this new domain will "lie with defense establishments able to adapt rapidly and effectively."