SAN FRANCISCO — Looking out at the sea of thousands of computer security professionals attending the RSA security conference here might lead one to wonder who’s minding the store.
But the size of the crowd isn’t surprising as RSA has long established itself as a key gathering for security pros both to trade stories with colleagues and find out about the latest threats and solutions from the many vendors in the exhibit hall and in-depth conference sessions.
A keynote panel on Cyberwar was no exception, easily filling the Moscone Center’s main hall. Despite the use of the word “war” the issue goes beyond a potential military conflict to the businesses, utilities and systems we rely on every minute of every day.
“I would consider something that destroys major systems an act of cyberwarfare,” said former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who now runs his own security consulting practice. Chertoff also noted that the “war” label in a true instance of cyberwar is more than justified.
“You could have a cyber attack that is as consequential to the economy as a war” in the conventional sense would be, said Chertoff.
He also noted that war requires a different response and expectation of help. For example, citizens might be more willing to give up certain rights, like privacy in a war scenario, versus criminal attacks like the theft of intellectual property.
eSecurity Planet has a full report on what else the security experts on the Cyberwar panel had to say.