Reader Comments

James Lewis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says cyberattacks are a cause for concern; expert Marcus Ranum argues that we should focus our security efforts elsewhere. Your feedback:

I agree with Marcus Ranum that the United States is not at cyberwar with China, or any other nation. Cyber espionage is indeed business as usual, but it does justify new investment in cyber defense. No miraculous new technology is needed, just the good application of tools and processes that Marcus has advocated for for 20 years. Is cyberwar possible? Have denial of service attacks coincided with military incursions across borders? Have electrical power grids failed due to network worms and software bugs? Have warring factions in Israel-Palestine and India-Pakistan engaged in cyber mischief? Yes, they have, and they will continue.

RICHARD STIENNON Birmingham, Mich.

The question asks, "Should the United States be ready for offensive cyberwarfare?" Who in their right mind would say "no?" U.S. News, shame on you for that poll. And Marcus, it's not about money, it's about protecting it. If someone takes down your Internet, how are you going to make money? There are three ways to look at cyberwar. Firstly, if we get into a cyberwar, the world as we know it is going to end. Secondly, cyberwars won't kill anyone, and the government will save us. Or lastly, welcome to reality. Nobody is going to be killed directly, but a lot of things we depend on are going to be unusable. We might not have electricity, we might not have access to an ATM machine, or the water system might fail. We have not dedicated adequate funds or resources against the problem and we are going to suffer heavily if we don't act soon.


Ranum is touching on a key point, and that point is that it is terribly dangerous as well as ill advised to act in the absence of hard fact. Ours is a fully globalized existence, as Marcus points out; the Chinese yen is dependent upon the strength of the U.S. dollar. However, we must be careful not to assume that there has been no escalation of cyber-military capability of those nations who may or may not be friendly towards us. The same can be said with respect to the advancement of cyberespionage. I disagree with Ranum's view that militaristic use of cyber weapons for warfare is overly hyped.

WILL GRAGIDO DuPage County, Ill.

For the same reasons the United States maintains a military, we should maintain capabilities to defend against cyberattacks. There should be action plans backed by appropriate policy and procedures to detect, deter, and provide for an offensive to cyberattacks. The priority should be on emergency services and critical infrastructure. I think without this capability, America would put its inhabitants and interests at unacceptable levels of risk.

WIL MILLER Frisco, Texas

That was the most irresponsible article that I have ever read. I have been around the information warfare and intelligence communities for over 40 years. Currently, I write AI systems for code cracking. My friends working for the intels all use the word "terrified" when talking about malware. This stuff is very, very real. We are just seeing the beginning of this problem.

THOMAS FOLKES Arlington, Va.


Available at

Willful Neglect: The Dangerous Illusion of Homeland Security

The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror

The Political Fix: Changing the Game of American Democracy, from the Grassroots to the White House






United States - Preparing for Cyberattacks