Risks of cyber war ‘over-exaggerated’, says study

January 18th, 2011 - 3:38 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 18 (ANI): A study has said that the risks involved in a cyber war have been “over-exaggerated” with the vast majority of hi-tech attacks not deserving the name at all.

The study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is part of a series considering incidents that could cause global disruption.

It said that while pandemics and financial instability could cause problems, cyber attacks are unlikely to, and that the trouble they cause is likely to be localised and short-lived.

But the report warns that governments need to plan for how they could mitigate the effects of both accidental and deliberate events.

“We don’t help ourselves using ‘cyberwar’ to describe espionage or hacktivist blockading or defacing of websites, as recently seen in reaction to WikiLeaks,” the BBC quoted Professor Peter Sommer, visiting professor at LSE who co-wrote the report with Dr Ian Brown of the Oxford Internet Institute, as saying.

“Nor is it helpful to group trivially avoidable incidents like routine viruses and frauds with determined attempts to disrupt critical national infrastructure,” Prof Sommer stated.

While acknowledging the risk of a catastrophic cyber incident, such as a solar flare that could knock out satellites, base stations and net hardware, it said that the vast majority of incidents seen today were almost trivial in comparison as they did not last long and only hit a few people or organisations.

“It is unlikely that there will ever be a true cyberwar, because no aggressor would stick to one class of weaponry,” the report said.

It also said that existing defences and the unpredictable effects of such an attack could limit its effectiveness. (ANI)

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