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Cyperspace dimension to US and Iran conflict | Nile Delta set to get drier

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Tuesday, 14 January 2020

 

Editor's note

The threat of conventional military attacks between the US and Iran seems to have cooled a bit since last week. But don’t take your eye off the cyber battlefield. The two countries have been going at it in cyberspace for decades, sometimes with serious real-world consequences.

According to cybersecurity expert Bryan Cunningham from the University of California Irvine, these hacks can be particularly dangerous because they tend to focus on targets in the private sector. Critical infrastructure companies – like those that control power grids, water plants and health systems – are on the front lines of cyber conflict but may have weaker defenses than government entities do. Luckily, Cunningham writes, there are steps they can take to “both to protect themselves and to enhance our collective national cybersecurity.”

And you can read more about the ongoing military and diplomatic crisis between the two countries here.

For decades the countries that share the river Nile’s waters have quarrelled over how to share the precious resource. These tensions have reached a peak because of a dam Ethiopia has built on one of the river’s major tributaries. Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has now asked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the ongoing dispute with Egypt and Sudan. But, these tensions could get worse in the future. Ethan D. Coffel and Justin S. Mankin reveal that devastating hot and dry spells are projected to become more frequent in the Upper Nile basin. By 2040 these would leave more than 80 million people without enough water to function in their daily lives.

Maggie Villiger

Senior Science + Technology Editor

Top stories

In the wake of U.S. killings, Iran’s supreme leader vowed ‘harsh revenge’ – which could come in the form of cyber attacks. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Cyberspace is the next front in Iran-US conflict – and private companies may bear the brunt

Bryan Cunningham, University of California, Irvine

Less overt than conventional military actions, cyber attacks can have dangerous consequences – especially when they target critical infrastructure systems controlled by the private sector.

High resolution satellite image of the Nile River’s delta. Shutterstock/TommoT

In the future there will be more rain, but less water, in the Nile Basin

Ethan D. Coffel, Dartmouth College; Justin S. Mankin, Dartmouth College

Despite more rainfall, devastating hot and dry spells are projected to become more frequent in the Upper Nile basin in the future.

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