Two of the most talked about events at this year's RSA conference were the executive order from the President to increase cyber security in the U.S., and the report from Mandiant which traced hacker activity to within China. After speaking with several security professionals today, it's clear that we're living on the edge of cyberwarfare.
Three Kinds of Cyberwar
The term "cyber warm war" comes from retired Lieutenant General Harry Raduege, who after 35 years in the military is currently with Deloitte. Having worked with the highest levels of cybersecurity in this country, his insight is unique and he described to me three "states" of cyberwarfare. On one end is a cold war, where there's only digital espionage moving between states, and very little overt aggressive activity. On the other side is a hot war, which Raduege saw as a catastrophic event.
The aspect of subterfuge was echoed by Edy Almer, the VP for Wave—a company which, among other things, aims to eliminate the password by using a mobile device for user authentication. "The really ugly, scary thing is lying on a network," said Almer, referring to long-term attacks that can last years.