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Don’t Confuse Recent Cyber Attacks for Cyber War

P.W. Singer and August Cole : “When a series of technical glitches hit companies that ranged from United to the New York Stock Exchange this week, suspicions immediately ran to a cyber attack. Was this just the beginning of something much worse?… A key challenge in this new environment of fear is that terms like  ‘cyber war’ and ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’ are tossed around today in politics and media with as much precision as the term ‘war’ itself. There is a massive array of cyber threats out there, ranging from the 317 million distinct pieces of malware discovered by Symantec last year to credit card theft that has hit almost every major retail firm to advanced persistent threat campaigns that have penetrated literally every major corporation and government agency.”  

“If there was a conflict to break out between the U.S. and China, these players will engage in operations far different than the jousting we have seen so far when their nations are not at war. We won’t just see the stealing information or revealing information, but the blocking of information or changing information. And, as such, we will see cyber operations shift from the field of espionage to having actual direct effects on the flow of battle.”

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