Security Expert Warns of Cyber World War
A leading Internet security expert warned Tuesday that a cyber terrorist attack with "catastrophic consequences" looked increasingly likely in a world already in a state of near cyber war.
Speaking outside a global conference on Internet security in London, Eugene Kaspersky, a Russian math genius, told Sky News the threat was a real and present danger.
"I don't want to speak about it. I don't even want to think about it," he said. "But we are close, very close, to cyber terrorism. Perhaps already the criminals have sold their skills to the terrorists -- and then ... oh, God."
Kaspersky, who founded an Internet security empire with a global reach, said he believed that cyber terrorism was the biggest immediate threat confronting nations as diverse as China and the U.S.
"There is already cyber espionage, cyber crime and hacktivisim [when activists attack networks for political ends] -- soon we will be facing cyber terrorism," he said.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, talking at the London Cyber Conference, added to the growing chorus of world leaders sounding the cyber alarm.
"We are here because international cyber security is a real and pressing concern," he said. "Let us be frank. Every day we see attempts on an industrial scale to steal government secrets -- information of interest to nation states, not just commercial organizations.
"Highly sophisticated techniques are being employed ... These are attacks on our national interest. They are unacceptable."
Cyber War Will Not Take Place
For almost two decades, experts and defense establishments the world over have been predicting that cyber war is coming. But is it? This article argues in three steps that cyber war has never happened in the past, that cyber war does not take place in the present, and that it is unlikely that cyber war will occur in the future. It first outlines what would constitute cyber war: a potentially lethal, instrumental, and political act of force conducted through malicious code. The second part shows what cyber war is not, case-by-case. Not one single cyber offense on record constitutes an act of war on its own. The final part offers a more nuanced terminology to come to terms with cyber attacks. All politically motivated cyber attacks are merely sophisticated versions of three activities that are as old as warfare itself: sabotage, espionage, and subversion.