Cyber warfare will only increase after end of Ukraine-Russia war, expert warns

Nadav Zafrir spoke about what the world can expect to see in the future in terms of cyber warfare and threats at the Tel Aviv Cybertech Conference on Tuesday.

 Will cyber warfare only get worse after the Ukraine-Russia war has ended? (illustrative) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Will cyber warfare only get worse after the Ukraine-Russia war has ended? (illustrative)
(photo credit: REUTERS)

If there is a resolution to the Russia-Ukraine war in 2023, countries worldwide can expect to see cyber warfare become worse, not better, former IDF intelligence Unit 8200 chief and Team8 Co-Founder and CEO Nadav Zafrir said on Tuesday.

“Cyber as part of the toolkit will become the main tool and we will see more threats, not less,” he explained at the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv.

The former IDF cyber intelligence chief also said sarcastically that the world is “almost celebrating a year of war in Ukraine. A year ago, no one would believe we would have a global war in Ukraine that looks like World War.”

He also took a look back at “what did not happen" during the last year of the war.

"We didn’t see the cyber doomsday weapon come out in Ukraine. We didn’t see it because there was no motivation to take it out," he said. "But we did see cyber become a real thing. In this war, it was a part of the toolkit.”

 Team8 Managing Partner Nadav Zafrir (credit: ADI LAMM) Team8 Managing Partner Nadav Zafrir (credit: ADI LAMM)

Further, he said that “we will be in the Wild West of cyber in 2023” given a complete breakdown in US-Russia relations leading to unprecedented levels of global and nation-state ransomware attacks.

World sees record losses due to hacking

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk said that 2022 saw a record $8.4 trillion in losses due to hacking, making up 9% of the world economy.

Mandiant UK Managing Director Stuart McKenzie Mandiant said Russia’s cyber attacks on Ukraine led to “the most sophisticated attacks we have ever seen.”

He said that governments and organizations need to realize that their “crown jewels” of critical items to focus on defending cannot be limited to intellectual property and trade secrets, but also must include how they deliver their services.