The cyber lessons from Ukraine

While Russia's invasion of Ukraine rages on, conventional hardware grabbing the headlines has come in addition to cyber attacks hitting forces where it hurts.

Ciaran Martin, the former CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, says Russia started its illegal campaign by successfully targeting Ukrainian satellite communications.

This weakened defensive ground forces from Ukraine's perspective but was accompanied by a secondary misinformation campaign to undermine the opposition online.

This two-pronged method should guide future approaches to cyber, say Mr Martin, but secondary capabilities like cyber couldn't "change the outcome of war" decisively, he added.

"They're important, they're potent, but they're limited."

The assurance of consequences were Russia to launch a large-scale attack on the West has led to its absence, despite what many predicted, during the Ukraine war.

Meanwhile, China is posing a far greater threat in cyberspace.

"Russia is very good at hacking the internet that America built, but that's all it's good at," Mr Martin explained.

"China is building its own internet, it's building its own technological base. It's huge already and it's competing for the leadership," he added.

Watch: Will Russian cyber attacks follow UK's support for Ukraine?

The lessons being learned, or confirmed, on cyber throughout the latest European conflict regard its limitations in assisting conventional campaigns compared to the now unrealistic, fantastical public perception, the expert says.

Well-planned over a long time and correctly executed, cyber attacks can cause damage but still not to the scale and the same extent as a bombing campaign.

However, with China now increasingly able to compete for technological leadership with the West, the environment has become more ominous.

"That's why virtually every major British security leader is now saying that, when it comes to technology, Russia is 'severe bad weather' and China is 'climate change'."

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