Panic and fund

Australia ‘must prepare for cyber attack’, according to internet security experts. We only have a few years to prepare for a potential cyber attack that could cripple our infrastructure.

Sure, Cyber-War! is a great title for a 50s C-movie. But it’s just a reoccurring beatup: one of those beatups that only deep foreign policy thinkers do best. This piece in Wired,written after the highly-publicised attacks in Estonia in 2007, explains how we’ve never actually seen any cyber-war. What we do see is more like cyber-vandalism. (The critical infrastructure which was “knocked out” during the Estonia episode was banks’ websites, not their ATMs or vault security. Annoying, sure. Devastating, not so much.)

The hook for today’s panic is a spate of recent “attacks” in July 2009. Of course, these “did not cause casualties, loss of territory, destruction or serious disruption of critical services.” Oh, and something to do with terrorists.

It’s a big leap from internet vandalism to warfare. But the fact that there has never really been a cyber-battle, let alone a cyber-war, doesn’t restrain the Centre for Strategic and International Studies from urging us to set up an elaborate and well-funded Homeland Security Agency to tackle this imminent threat.

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