The most nefarious attack of all, however, is on the American way of life-or, to be less nationalistic, the way of life in any free country. This most dangerous attack need not even take place. If the mere threat of cyber attack causes us to reduce civil liberties for our citizens, we have lost something immensely precious. For any attackers seeking to target precisely those liberties that make free countries free, we risk Congress itself becoming their most powerful weapon.
Achieving an adequate level of cyber security while balancing business needs and civil liberties is therefore a complex, difficult challenge. We can only hope that our government-as well as other governments around the world-rise to the challenge in time. The alternative, we fear, is continued complacency until a single attack or cluster of attacks is so damaging, so traumatic that the entire world changes its perspective on the cyber war in progress. Let's not forget the most valuable target for such a cyber-9/11 is our way of life itself.
Jason Bloomberg is the president of ZapThink, a Dovel Technologies company. Bloomberg focuses on enterprise architecture, SOA and cloud computing. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, on Facebook, and on Google +.
Read more about cyber crime in CIO's cyber crime Drilldown.