Wednesday, April 22, 2009

RSA 2009: U.S. Already at War in Cyber Space

William Jackson writes on

Cyber warfare is a reality, and the United States already has been engaged by a number of adversaries, a panel of experts said today at the RSA Security Conference.

“There is no question we are in the midst of a cyberwar,” added Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee.

Because the war involves infiltration, espionage and sabotage rather than conventional weapons, it looks much like the Cold War waged by the United States and the Soviet Union in the post-World War II 20th century. But there are important differences, the panelists said. The Cold War was bipolar, with just two sides; there are many players in the cyberwar, and they each can have different goals.

“We knew what the rules of engagement were during the Cold War,” said Ed Giorgio, president of Ponte Technologies, who worked at the National Security Agency for 30 years. But no one knows what rules we are playing by now. “If we play the game by a different set of rules than our adversaries, we are going to lose. The rules of engagement are important.”

One of the greatest differences between the Cold War and the current cyber war is that we knew our Cold War adversaries. Today, we do not necessarily know the source of the cyberattacks that are hitting and sometimes penetrating our information systems.

More here.


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