If you are reading this, it hasn't started (probably). I don't think any sane person would seriously want to start a nuclear war and I doubt Vladimir Putin is insane. His talk of nuclear was is for the consumption of the general population of the West, in an attempt to make us weaken our support of the government of Ukraine. A nuclear war would do no one any favours and if I was Vladimir Putin, I'd not want to see my nation annihilated. It was interesting to note that he didn't look at all well. He looked like he'd had a minor stroke, with one side of his face not really moving.
Putin has shown us that he's prepared to use nerve agents and radioactive material in the UK to further his ambitions, so we really should be under no illusions as to what he is capable of, but why would any sane individual sign their own nations death warrant?
It seems to me that Putin must feel he has cards up his sleeve that won't result in the destruction of Russia. What could these be? My money would be on a devastating cyber attack on the West. What form would this take? The easiest for them and the least damaging are what are called denial of service attacks. These simply mean that the attack disables access to websites for a period of time. Usually these are very inconvenient at the time, but have little long term effect. Often such attacks are simply brute force attacks that swamp websites, resulting in them being unable to resspond to geniune requests.
Then there are ransomeware attacks, where malicious code is introduced. Usually this is done by criminals who effectively hold the systems 'hostage' in return for cash. We've not seen a government officially launch a ransomeware attack, but surely it is only a matter of time. It seems unlikely that Russia would be able to take down government sites with such an attack, but they could cause mayhem.
If I was Putin, the nature of attack I'd favour is a hack to find embarrassing information that governments don't want to be released. If Putin could access our state secrets and share the most embarrassing ones, who knows what chaos he could cause.
So which of these do I expect to see? I'm sure that Putin would launch all three if he had the capability. We rely on the Net for so much. The West has kicked Russian banks off SWIFT, so I'd be less than surprised to see wholesale attacks on our financial networks and information systems. A hack attack where millions of passwords etc for our bank accounts were released to criminals would cause mayhem that would suite Putin down to the earth and if he could be on the receiving end of some of the cash, very useful.
It is really not a matter of if but when we see this. Are we prepared? Our government and large companies spend billions on ensuring their systems and networks are safe, but there is a saying that in a battle between the Sword and Sheild, the Sword always wins. What can we do? Today may be a good day to change your passwords and take a few screenshots of whats in your account! Tomorrow you may just wake up to find you are a bit worse off and none of your cards work!
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