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Cyber warfare an issue worldwide

Posted at 5:25 PM, Dec 29, 2016

Russia isn't the only country taking part in cyber attacks. But one expert says digital warfare is having an impact, and it may only get worse.

From concerns of a hacked election to hacked email accounts, cyber attacks are front and center. And it's not just between the U.S. and Russia: There are a multitude of attacks going on across the world at any given time.

"We can look to Israel attacking Iran. We can look to China reaching out to all sorts of different places. These sorts of things are going on," says Steve Beaty, a cyber security expert and professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  

He says the attacks come in all forms and are only expected to increase. Russia, for instance, used a cell phone app to get strategic military information from Ukrainian soldiers.

He says the U.S. intellectual property is always a target, and if infiltrated can pose a serious safety threat.

"All of a sudden they have the source code for our weapon systems. They have the ability to analyze the software that's running on our high tech weapons," Beaty says. "There are certain kinds of planes even that cannot fly other than being computerized."

Beaty says cyber espionage will not only be used by countries to attack another country's borders and democratic process, but also their economy.

"So if someone was able to take out stock exchanges in these sorts of things for a substantial amount of time, that's going to have a very direct influence on a lot of people," Beaty says.

People in some countries have seen results of cyber attacks directly, with massive power outages. While the U.S. hasn't, Beaty says it's always a possibility.

"i do believe this is going to expand into more and more people's lives," Beaty says.

Beaty believes as the United States' weaponry gets more and more high-tech, cyber espionage is going to become a bigger and bigger problem.