Conflict in Ukraine goes online

A participant sits with a laptop computer as he attends the annual Chaos Communication Congress of the Chaos Computer Club at the Berlin Congress Center on December 28, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The Chaos Computer Club is Europe's biggest network of computer hackers and its annual congress draws up to 3,000 participants.

Cyber attacks are now an essential element in modern warfare. In the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, both sides are thought to be using computer hackers who target social media.

But if the war heats up, expect Russian hackers to target Ukraine’s banking and financial systems.

Similar cyber attacks on Estonia eventually led to more business for Western security companies. But, so far, U.S. computer security companies are not rushing to Ukraine. At least not until the standoff with Russia is settled and the Ukrainian economy improves.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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