Cyber war is now cleaner but far more dangerous

Security expert Eugene Kaspersky said that while cyber weapons may be “cleaner” than traditional weapons they can be much more dangerous.

Speaking during a debate at the DLD 2013 conference, with F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen, according to the International Business Times, he warned that humanity is nowhere near ready to deal with the dangers and is vulnerable. It is just a matter of time before there is a serious incident.

He said that there are certain digital technologies which should be walked away from because they are too dangerous. Humanity had a chance to walk away from the Zeppelin and the Concorde, but no one seems to be considering dangers when it comes to digital technology.

Kaspersky said it might be difficult to do that or to limit the function of digital tech. Consuming IT is a little like oxygen or water consumption and can’t exactly be stopped.

Both Kaspersky and Hypponen agreed that the next major military engagement will involve a serious cyber element, and while the battle won’t be completely online, it will be a major aspect of the war.

Hypponen said that the danger of cyber warfare is that it can be launched and denied it ever happened.

What sets cyber weapons apart from traditional weapons is that anyone can get their hands on them, unlike a nuclear bomb, missiles or tanks, which only armies would have access to, Hypponen said.

Hypponen doesn’t consider spying to be an act of cyber-warfare. He thinks that cyber warfare is not really happening until critical infrastructure is targeted.

He said that the situation now is similar to the way nuclear scientists lost their innocence in 1945 with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Security experts lost their virginity in 2009 when Stuxnet infected a Siemens PLC device in the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran, he said.