With cyberwarfare, the battlefield is going online. Here's everything you need to know.

Cyberwar is still an emerging concept, but many experts are concerned that it is likely to be a significant component of any future conflicts. As well as troops using conventional weapons like guns and missiles, future battles will also be fought by hackers manipulating computer code.

Governments and intelligence agencies worry that digital attacks against vital infrastructure -- like banking systems or power grids -- will give attackers a way of bypassing a country's traditional defences.

Unlike standard military attacks, a cyberattack can be launched instantaneously from any distance, with little obvious evidence in the build-up. And it is often extremely hard to trace such an attack back to its originators. Modern economies, underpinned by computer networks that run everything from sanitation to food distribution and communications, are particularly vulnerable to such attacks.
Cyberwar: A guide to the frightening future of online conflict | ZDNet