Military industry uses cyberwar fear to grab money; Americans and the Chinese are not stupid
Start with some definitions:
Cyberwar is the use of attacks in cyberspace to erode an opponent's will and capabilities to resist. Cyberterrorism is the use of attacks in cyberspace to create fear and horror in the target population to achieve some political end. We have seen neither, though there have been many successful exploits by our opponents in cyberspace and much damage to our security and economic health.
We have at least two opponents with the ability to launch damaging cyberattacks against
The Russians and the Chinese also have missiles and airplanes they could launch against
Terrorists would take the risk, but there have been no incidents because terrorists do not have the capabilities to launch cyberattacks. They may eventually acquire them, but the notion that they have them and are merely waiting to use them--
All advanced militaries have cyberattack capabilities. The Chinese are open about intentions to use them, the Russians less so. An Israeli general recently said that cyberattack gives small countries the same capabilities as big countries. This is true if they are willing to invest in skilled personnel, but big countries have an advantage since they can recruit thousands of potential attackers.
Cyberattacks in war will try to create uncertainty by scrambling or erasing data. They will erode command and control and create uncertainty and political pressure. Cyberattacks will disrupt services that depend on computer networks. There is some potential that a cyberattack could even cause physical damage or destruction, as demonstrated by the Aurora tests at the
This is because the ways to get advantage in combat have changed. More than 20 years ago,
These are not hypothetical capabilities. Other nations' intelligence services frequently penetrate our networks. So far, they have been more interested in stealing than disruption. But in
We have not seen cyberwar or cyberterrorism, but that does not mean the threat isn't real. Our opponents are not waiting for a shooting war when it comes to espionage or crime. Russian and Chinese hackers, with the tolerance if not approval of their governments, do this every day. There have been giant losses. If Chinese or Russian hackers backed a truck up to the Departments of State, Energy, and Defense and
It may not be war, but that doesn't mean we aren't losing.
Suddenly, the steady drumbeat of computer network security has been pushed to center stage, and now our government is talking about cyberwar and pointing a finger at China. Unless you've been asleep for a decade, you ought to be worried when our government starts using the rhetoric of warfare -- especially vocabulary like pre-emptive and deterrence. Why the sudden change?
Preparing for Cyberattacks
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
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