OECD: Concept Of Cyberwar Is Overhyped

from the nice-to-finally-see-this dept

We've spent plenty of time over the past year or so discussing how the concept of a "cyberwar" has been blown totally out of proportion, often by those seeking to get rich off of the fear. We've been ridiculed for this, often getting messages from people saying that we don't know what's really going on. However, now the OECD, a rather respectable organization, has stepped up and said the same thing: the concept of a "cyberwar" is totally overhyped, and while there may be random computer-based hacks and attacks here and there, to label it as a "war" is way beyond reasonable.
Attempts to quantify the potential damage that hi-tech attacks could cause and develop appropriate responses are not helped by the hyperbolic language used to describe these incidents, said the OECD report.

"We don't help ourselves using 'cyberwar' to describe espionage or hacktivist blockading or defacing of websites, as recently seen in reaction to WikiLeaks," said Professor Peter Sommer, visiting professor at LSE who co-wrote the report with Dr Ian Brown of the Oxford Internet Institute.

"Nor is it helpful to group trivially avoidable incidents like routine viruses and frauds with determined attempts to disrupt critical national infrastructure," added Prof Sommer.
Part of the problem is that people (again, often with questionable agendas) like to lump all sorts of very different activities under the single heading of "cyberwar" to make it sound like a bigger issue than it really is (and, presumably, to get more money). It's nice to see more level-headed analysis coming out of groups like the OECD. Now, if only governments will actually listen...

Filed Under: cyberwar, oecd


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  1. identicon
    sumquy, 17 Jan 2011 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: The Imaginary and the Real

    but that is exactly the point. it wasn't espionage. or at least not primarily, stuxnet's purpose was to infiltrate iranian nuclear facility and to destroy as many centrifuges as possible before being detected. i agree that a lot of things like hacking, espionage, ddos, etc... aren't "cyberwarfare" at all.

    Nor is it helpful to group trivially avoidable incidents like routine viruses and frauds with determined attempts to disrupt critical national infrastructure," added Prof Sommer.

    exactly. stuxnet was a "determined attempt to disrupt critical national infrastructure"

    you really need to read more deeply into it, because half of what i,ve read you comment on it is wrong.

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