Cyber War

To most in the security industry these words bring to mind attack and defense of the electronic communications and control of military assets and sensitive government institutions and information. Government vs. government. The US government recognizes this as a developing threat and has undertaken steps to prepare for possible cyber war scenarios. But recent press coverage has been filled with what can be best described as a cyber war between a foreign government and a US commercial business – China and Google. Google’s belief it has the right to do business as it sees fit has come into conflict with a government that does not share this view and apparently has taken action. Most hacking incidents we read about involve criminal activity and easily understood motives – money. Businesses understand this too and are diligent to prevent and minimize this. There are means (at times) to legally redress criminal breaches, minimize and recoup losses – but what of this incident? As large and savvy as Google appears as a business they seem to be on their own against an even larger and capable foreign government and the vast resources it can bring to bear in the electronic arena. A frightening position indeed. Who does Google turn to and for what result? Is this the opening shot of ever increasing and blatant ideological (based on national interests) ‘hacktivism’ by governments as they take action not against governments, but the business and economic assets of countries with differing views?

Do you accept the definition of cyber war presented here? How would you define and what would you call the recent exchange between China and Google? Cyber war to me seems a little extreme and hacktivism a little light.

Google attacked
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122703950

Yahoo and others too?
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601204&sid=aRCof4o1aj5Y

Law firm a victim
http://www.securityfocus.com/brief/1062

China’s position
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60D0CA20100114

Hacktivism
http://www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2010/01/12/baidu-chinas-largest-search-engine-defaced-iranian-cyber-army/

US Cyber Command
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=54890

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