Is the United States in the middle of a cyber war? You'd think the answer to that question would be obvious. But apparently it depends on whom you ask.
Case in point: At this week's RSA security conference, Scott Borg, director and chief economist from the U.S. Cyber Consequence Unit think tank, declared that we are already deep into a cyber war.
[ Want to cash in on your IT experiences? InfoWorld is looking for stories of an amazing or amusing IT adventure, lesson learned, or war tale from the trenches. Send your story to email@example.com. If we publish it, we'll keep you anonymous and send you a $50 American Express gift cheque. ]
This followed on the heels of a report by yet another D.C. think tank, the Bipartisan Policy Center, which held a tabletop "cyber war" exercise and concluded that if such a war were held today, the United States would have its virtual assets handed to it.
Testifying before Congress last week, former National Intelligence director Mike McConnell said if we were at cyber war, we'd lose -- badly. He did everything but force members of Congress to duck and cover under their desks to hide from the Internet bogeymen:
If the nation went to war today, in a cyber war, we would lose. ... We're the most vulnerable. We're the most connected. We have the most to lose.
He then elaborated on this in a 1,381-word op-ed in the Washington Post a few days later:
We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions, and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military, and legal options -- and we must be able to do this in milliseconds. More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis, and impact assessment -- who did it, from where, why, and what was the result -- more manageable.