The forces of the perfect storm of climate change, energy tsunamis and global economic bubbles in collision are complex and varied; each with their own levels of threat and urgency. In this milieu, it’s easy to over-fixate on the more visible threats and downplay the others.
Case in point: The Iranian nuclear showdown has dominated the news and polarized the geopolitical world. While frightening, it has overshadowed another “real-time” threat of growing proportions: cyber-warfare and cyber-security.
It’s not a new threat. Our personal computers are barraged with viral assaults. The cyber firewalls of such giants as J.P. Morgan, Target, Home Depot, SONY and Anthem Health are regularly penetrated – with the loss of sensitive information on tens of millions of Americans at a crack.
It’s bad enough when hackers and criminals do their dirty deeds; it’s downright dangerous when nation states organize and deploy their cyber-forces against other nations in a harmful manner.
Cyber-warfare has escalated into a new global battlefield with ill-defined “rules of the road.” The barriers to entry are low, and serious cyber-attacks can now be conducted by tiny nations and terrorist groups against any nation or company. It’s a perfect example of using asymmetric warfare to attack a far greater force using unconventional means. Though cyber forensics are improving, identifying the source of an attack is almost as difficult as deciding on a response.
James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, recently reported to congress that “Cyber threats to U.S. national and economic security are increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication, and severity of impact.” He went on to identify Russia as one of the most sophisticated cyber adversaries and that cyber threats, in general, would be more of an “ongoing series of low-to-moderate level of cyberattacks from a variety of sources over time