Is the Risk of Cyber Warfare Real – or Ridiculous?

Calls for legislation and military involvement to protect international cybersecurity are misguided and could be counter-productive, according to a report released last week. It's unlikely that "an event with the characteristics of conventional war but fought exclusively in cyberspace" will ever occur, or have any kind of global impact, says the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development report, which is summarized in InformationWeek.

“The best way to combat online attacks is to practice the basics: create secure code, monitor for malware and intrusions, educate users, and always have an attack and recovery response plan in place for the attacks that inevitably do get through,” the article says.

One of the report’s authors, Ian Brown, notes that most online infrastructure remains in the hands of private business. "We think that a largely military approach to cybersecurity is a mistake. Most targets in the critical national infrastructure of communications, energy, finance, food, government, health, transport, and water are in the private sector," says Brown, an Oxford research fellow who has consulted for the Department of Homeland Security, among other organizations.

The report speculates that the emphasis on including the U.S. military in protecting the nation's critical infrastructure is a result of poor analysis, inexact language and "heavy lobbying."

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