Cyber war more likely than nuclear conflict?

The prospect of war with Iran is headline news. But how prepared are we for cyber threats? Or worse, the prospect of cyber space turning into a nuke? Devote four minutes to listen to what a high level delegation from Europol, Israel, NATO, the EU and US has to say on cyber security:

According to a new report on cybersecurity by Security & Defence Agenda, a think tank in Brussels, Sweden, Finland and Israel are best prepared for cyber attacks. Better even than the United States, Germany and Britain, which is alarming since the latter three are more likely to be targeted than Sweden and Finland. India, Brazil and Mexico on the other hand, rank near the bottom. 

More than half the respondents believe a cyber arms race is already going on and 36% are of the opinion that cybersecurity is more important than missile defence. Nearly half said that it's as important as border securiry.

Global agreement to share information recommended

Governments and private sector companies need to cooperate better on sharing information about possible threats. The public also needs to be educated and more attention being given to secure smart phones and cloud computing.

China lagging behind

Considering how active China is reputed to be in cyber warfare, it's surprising that the report finds that they are no better equipped to defend themselves than countries like Poland and Austria. Makes you wonder if the talk about China's super elite Cyber army is exaggerated? If not, why don't they make sure they are better protected against attacks? Provided, of course that the report has the right information. 

Apparently the West is so far scrambling to bolster its capabilities as I wrote about in Cyber Warfare – hackers to the rescue? six months ago. Hackers are both a concern and possible assett when it comes to defense in cyber space. A few days ago Anonymous released a recording between the FBI and UK police discussing efforts against hackers. Once again, can't avoid thinking that it would be much better if the members of Anonymous and other such groups could give governments a helping hand. Let's face it they exist and could use their skills in beneficial ways.

US warns against Iran, China and Russia

On January 31st James Clapper, US intelligence officer told the senate that Iran is accelerating its activity in cyber space and warned that China and Russia have aggressive capabilities. Iran, Russia and China on the other hand accuse the United States of being the main agressor in cyber space. 

What's your opinion? Do you agree that an arms race is already going on in cyber space? Are Iran, China and Russia as active as we are led to believe by US intelligence and the news? Did you know that 1,000 attacks a minute take place world-wide? Is a full scale online war more likely than a nuclear conflict? Is enough being done to protect us against attacks in cyber space? What more could be done? Will it actually go as far as an online war? If so, will it paralyze the world and who will be the winner?

Video: InfoSecDefAgenda

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28 Responses to “Cyber war more likely than nuclear conflict?”

  1. GuyW Says:

    There's no question in my mind that there is already a low-level cyber-war going on. I suspect that few governments are not already involved, and also suspect that much of the activity is still being done by independents that may, later, approach governments to sell the results…

    I agree that it is a more likely/real threat than nuclear war: no country could afford to launch a nuclear attack today, due to the level of global response to this emotive action. Cyber warfare is more like guerilla warfare – low profile, tightly targeted and more easily deniable…

    Will it escalate into a full-scale war? Unlikely – I think it will continue to operate in the shadows, but that makes it no less dangerous.

  2. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Guy. Excellent and spot on points you are making!

  3. Susan Oakes Says:

    Hi Catarina,

    I also agree with you because cyber attacks are cheaper to organise, quicker to put into action etc versus nuclear. I don't doubt the countries are growing their capabilities and the ones we hear about are probably only the tip. I don't think there will be all out war, but it means there is another tool in the war for world supremacy. Another thought provoking article.
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  4. keepupweb Says:

    Catarina, I think cyber warfare presents a very real threat and that it does make the US vulnerable. Once again, our country should look to Israel and other countries to learn how to protect ourselves. Sometimes, it takes too long for our leaders to take action.

    Your comment "Governments and private sector companies need to cooperate better on sharing information about possible threats." is so important. According to an article posted on Reuters last week, "At least a half-dozen major U.S. companies whose computers have been infiltrated by cyber criminals or international spies have not admitted to the incidents despite new guidance from securities regulators urging such disclosures." The statistics on this are frightening.
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  5. keepupweb Says:

    Catarina, I think cyber warfare presents a very real threat and that it does make the US vulnerable. Once again, our country should look to Israel and other countries to learn how to protect ourselves. Sometimes, it takes too long for our leaders to take action.

    Your comment "Governments and private sector companies need to cooperate better on sharing information about possible threats." is so important. According to an article posted on Reuters last week, "At least a half-dozen major U.S. companies whose computers have been infiltrated by cyber criminals or international spies have not admitted to the incidents despite new guidance from securities regulators urging such disclosures." The statistics on this are frightening.
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  6. Harrison Says:

    I remember watching a documentary where some Chinese companies hire a ton of workers, simply to hack and break into other company or gov't agency websites. I'm sure other countries are doing it, so yea, I definitely agree that the cyber warfare is good stay, as long as we have computers, Internet, and growing technology!
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  7. catarinaalexon Says:

    Thank you Susan. Glad we agree.

  8. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad we agree Sherryl. It's frightening and hopefully protection will get better.

  9. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Harrison.

  10. catarinaalexon Says:

    Yes Alan, let's see if it ever develops into full scale online. war Hopefully not.

  11. catarinaalexon Says:

    Rebecca, it's unfortunately not a quetion of fear but reality. Every minute 1,000 attacks take place on a world-wide scale. To take a small example I'm sure you, like me, know plenty of people who have had their emails, facebook & twitter accounts and online banking hacked. Some people I know have actually had their computers taken over. It's normal people just like you and me. Unfortunately surrent safe guards are frequently far from enough.

  12. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad we agree Stacy.

  13. catarinaalexon Says:

    Thank you for conveying your opinion, Lou.

  14. Lilach Bullock Says:

    Catarina I always find your blogs very thought provoking:) I must admit I just don't know, I doubt it will go to a full-scale war but in all honesty don't know enough or feel qualified enough to comment on this.

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  15. Al The Man Says:

    You will not be able to stop the impacts of the on-going Cyber War. It is the new Cold War. So far no one has gotten killed or a structure been destroyed. Will it one day? If it does, then it is no longer a cold war. On an individual level, each one of us needs to look at the risk level tah they can live with in today's interconnected world.

  16. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Al. But it's not the new cold war. The cold war only involved 2 countries. The cyber war involves all countries.

  17. Jayne Kopp Says:

    HI Catarina, I am not an expert (as you know :-) ) on world affairs, but I do feel cyber war poses a real threat, hence I feel governments need to be advanced as possible to protect classified information.

    It's just one more aspect we face in the world, but it's here to stay unfortunately. I think it's something that will have to be worked on. I guess the alternative would be to prevent internet access… period. That would be another war… as it's something that would affect us all… hence take away a huge part of our way of life.

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  18. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Jayne. One problem is that far too many companies and government rely on the same providers of safety that hackers just hack into the providers server to be able to hack a multitude of sites.

  19. catarinaalexon Says:

    Don't think it will be full scale war either Lilach. Or maybe that's just being optimistic?:-)

  20. catarinaalexon Says:

    True Tosin. It's already going on in a small scale but hopefully it will not go any further.

  21. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Ragnar.

  22. catarinaalexon Says:

    Sincerely hope it will never happen Mika. About how to avoid it there are recommendations for it. Let's see if that will have an impact?

  23. Slim Says:

    Cyber warfare–indeed a coming problem. Still, I believe that China and nations with a similar socio-economic structure are best able to weather the storm.

    A few months back our power went out for three days. The best that happened? Town Hall handed out jugs of fresh water.

    The Chinese can boil rice over a fire. The Chinese can light their homes with Candles, sew their own clothes, and walk to where they want to go if no bicycle is available and no one near by with a bicycle to lend.

    If Cyber attacks shut down western nations, we will be at a complete loss.

    There is no need for a nuclear attack. Simply go to the fuse box, take out a fuse, and walk away. The rest will be chaos and pandemonium.

    Slim

  24. catarinaalexon Says:

    Slim small scale cyber warfare is already going on.

  25. Charles Blum Says:

    We've never had a nuclear exchange and hopefully never will. Cyberwarfare takes place every day, between governments and businesses alike. It is not so much a threat as a reality. Prudent businesses and government agencies (especially vulnerable public utilities) need to devote much more attention to problems and take effective measures to deter attacks and minimize damage. I am aware of academic work in this regard, but my impression is that the potential victims are mostly in denial.

  26. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Charles.

  27. ED SEG Says:

    yOU EVER THOUGHT AN ATTACK TO IRAN/SYRIA IS THE TRIGGER FOR A WORLDWIDE CONFLICT WITH THERMONUCLEAR WEAPONS ?? OTHERWISE, WHY SO MANY US- CARRIERS AND SUBS IN THE INDIAN AND PACIFIC OCEANS currently, SINCE LAST 3 MONTHS , CARRYNG OVER 300 MISSILES AND POINTING TO CHINA/RUSSIA ? THE OLD MANIACS FROM THE COLLAPSING MONETARY/FINANCIER CITY CIRCLES PREFER WAR AND WORLD DEVASTATION THAN EMERGENCE OF A NEW PACIFIC ASIAN CIVILISATION

  28. catarinaalexon Says:

    Thank you for conveying your opinion, Ed. However, I don't believe the US or anybody else for that matter would like to start a nuclear war.

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