The keynote address at Cyber Expo 2023 by Paul C. Dwyer began with a pertinent question on his opening slide, ‘Cyber War – Is Ireland Ready?’ The global stage has been set, he argued, with instability and nation-state actors targeting critical national infrastructure. He referenced the enigmatic ‘Chinese weather balloon’ – a mysterious event that captured media attention – and
introduced the audience to the fifth domain of warfare: ‘cyber’, an elusive theatre of war with blurred lines.
The concept of cyber warfare is not new, but Dwyer’s insight into its reality proved to be an eye-opener for delegates, as he shared real-life examples of cyber nation-state attacks, showing how they’re becoming more frequent and alarmingly pedestrian.
The man named by Dwyer as the world’s biggest cyber threat actor, Vladimir Putin, was described using the acronym P.R.I.C.K. — Powerful, Resourceful, Innovative, Cold and Knowledgeable. This wasn’t a casual affront, but rather an encapsulation of the danger Putin represents, he said. Dwyer explained Putin’s rise to power, his association with cyber mercenaries, criminal gangs and his involvement in creating academies for cybercriminals and trolls that globally poison news feeds, democracy, and truth. “The evidence is damning, the connections extensive,” he noted.