(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 10--Cyber security experts Gail Harris and Thomas Rid hold vastly different views on cyber warfare.
Yet the friendly combatants, speaking and sparring at Portland's Lewis & Clark College on Wednesday, took only 89 minutes to paint a bleak portrait of the multitude of global security threats posed by our friend the Internet.
Hill, the U.S. Navy's first female intelligence officer and a senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project, likened cyber attacks to warfare. She quoted from Sun Tzu, who wrote the original playbook for espionage and warfare more than 2,000 years ago: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."
Rid, a professor of Security Studies at King's College London (and author of the book "Cyber War Will Not Take Place"), said the term "cyber war" -- hyped by corporations and the military -- is counterproductive and inaccurately describes what are nonviolent attacks of sabotage.
Hill and Rid then spent much of the concluding lecture at Lewis & Clark's 52nd annual International Affairs Symposium recalling a hit parade of global cyber attacks. They touched on the 1999 Melissa virus (which played havoc on global email and left Bill Clinton on hold for 30 minutes with the Defense Department) to Stuxnet (the U.S.-Israel concoction, discovered in 2010, which destroyed the centrifuges of many of Iran's nuclear reactors).
The Internet experiences tens of millions of hostile attacks each month, some of it straight-ahead spying by nations stealing U.S. weapons systems, Hill said.
"We all do espionage on each other," she said, pointing out that spying is the world's second-oldest profession. "Cyber has allowed us to do it much easier."
-- Bryan Denson
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