An Analysis of Cyberwarfare Attribution Techniques and Challenges




Cyberwarfare, Malware Analysis, Cyberattacks, Digital Forensic, Geopolitical Analysi, Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)


Identifying the source of cyber-attacks is crucial to ensuring cybersecurity. This study examines different attribution techniques, obstacles, and real-world examples in the context of cyber warfare. It explores challenges such as incorrect attributions, ethical concerns, legal barriers, and complexities in the digital environment. The discussed topic includes modern techniques such as malware analysis, network traffic study, digital forensics, and the implementation of AI/ML. These methods help improve cybersecurity and shape cyber warfare strategies. Case studies on the Standard Bank South Africa ATM fraud and the TransUnion South Africa cyber-attack illustrate the importance of attributing cyber incidents, especially with global cyber criminals. The analysis emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach that takes into account legal, technical, ethical, and geopolitical considerations relevant to the evolution of computing and cyber warfare. It stresses the need for cybersecurity tools enhancement and global cooperation. The study pairs attribution challenges with techniques to deepen our understanding of threats. It underlines the need for ongoing cybersecurity research and adaptation, sustained innovation, and collaboration to fortify global cyber defenses.

Author Biographies

Clementine Swate, University of Johannesburg

Clementine Swate is from Johannesburg, South Africa and holds a BSc in Computer Science (Eduvos), currently pursuing a BSc Hons in computer science specializing in Cyber security(University of Johannesburg). She is a junior SQL developer at EBSphere, and her research interests are cyber security and artificial intelligence.

Khutso Lebea, University of Johannesburg

Khutso Lebea is from Tzaneen in Limpopo, South Africa and is currently a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg. He holds a MSc in Computer Science obtained from the same institution. He is currently a PhD candidate with an interest in Information Security, Computer Ethics, and Smart Homes.