Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 80

GSMA explains, “Mobile devices are often one of the first things people reach for when disaster strikes; for example, one of the first requests by those displaced on Sinjar Mountain in Iraq was a means to charge their mobile phones so that they could obtain information, to locate loved ones, and to become involved in response efforts.”19 Those examples illustrate that, by 2015, mobile networks had truly become an essential component of crisis management. Beyond straightforward communications, mobile phones have also enabled mobile banking. As of January 2015, 38 percent of the world’s population lived without access to a bank account; mobile banking promises the primary pathway for such communities.20 For example, Pakistan’s largest financial institution is a Norwegian mobile phone operator.21 In another example, Kenya boasts one of the most popular and successful mobile phone payment systems in the world.22 However, in a 2011 report, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned “mobile phones are becoming more and more valuable as targets for attack.”23 Cybersecurity professionals consider mobile devices their networks’ greatest vulnerability.24 Between August 2013 and March 2014, attacks per month against mobile devices increased over 800 percent.25 In one instance, Chinese cybercriminals used fake mobile banking apps to trick users to enter credentials, which enabled hackers to steal millions of dollars.26 Since communities in future conflicts will be dependent on mobile banking, cyberthreats to mobile banking will influence Army stability operations. Protecting and Restoring Essential Services Reliant on Cyberspace The international community plays a critical role in helping stakeholders restore telecommunications as an essential service. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has a United Nations mandate to oversee information and communications technologies (ICTs). ITU members include 173 governments and hundreds of nongovernmental institutions and private companies.27 In the first quarter of 2015, ITU personnel deployed to help restore telecommunications for relief efforts in Malawi, Mozambique, Micronesia, Nepal, and Vanuatu.28 Efforts in telecommunications represent a broader imperative for ICT growth for stability. 78 The Cyberspace Paradox and Examples of Emerging Threats Protecting and restoring ICTs are necessary components of prosperity.29 Future economic growth will depend upon the mobility and flexibility of a country’s networks.30 In 2007, ITU emphasized, “Organizations and countries need to focus on innovation capacities and rapid adaptability, backed up by a powerful and secure information system, if they wish to survive and assert themselves as long-term players in the new competitive environment.”31 Increased access to the Internet, mobile services, and broadband boosts economic growth.32 Moreover, the World Bank identifies ICTs as key factors in social development.33 As developing countries continued to deepen their ICT penetration, their long-run infrastructure costs decrease, thus creating a virtuous cycle.34 Those falling costs spur even more broadband penetration.35 In short, ICTs unleash latent economic forces in developing economies.36 In a 2014 report, Microsoft researchers described a “cybersecurity paradox” facing developing countries with low ICT penetration.37 Those countries suffer the highest malware infection rates. Moreover, as those countries develop ICT infrastructure, their infection rates accelerate.38 Thus, the poorest countries with the lowest ICT levels can be most vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Since conflict zones already suffer elevated levels of human trafficking, child exploitation, illicit drug trade, and organized crime, vulnerable cyberspace makes them ripe for exploitation.39 Consequently, cybercrime has become an unavoidable evolution for nefarious actors in such circumstances. For example, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, cybercriminals immediately published web portals for fake charities to bilk donors.40 Elsewhere, cyberattacks have become a component in political conflict. For example, when Russia seized the Crimea in 2014, mobile phone operators in Ukraine suffered significant service disruption.41 And, during Ukraine’s May 2014 presidential election, pro-Russian hackers penetrated the electronic voting system and installed malicious code capable of deleting swaths of votes.42 In response, in February 2015, Kiev publish YH