he Ware seminar on cyber security took place Tuesday, Sept. 17. The Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking brought in experts Scott Borg, John Smith, and Ian Wallace to speak.
Borg is the Executive Director of the U. S. Cyber Security Unit. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on cyber security and the economic impact of cyber-attacks. Smith is the senior counsel for Raytheon, an international aerospace and defense company, and its first cyber security lawyer. Wallace is a fellow at the Brookings Institution for Cyber Security in Washington D.C. He helped develop the United Kingdom’s cyber strategy.
Borg spoke first on the changes cyber warfare brings to the global economy. “Cyber changes everything,” Borg said. “The cyber security revolution and the advent of cyber-attacks are transforming security more than the advent of nuclear weapons.” He went on to explain that there was no climactic event to bring in the internet age, compared to the Hiroshima bombing ushering in the nuclear age.
“There is relatively little understanding of just what these weapons can do and what their ramifications are,” he said. It is possible that someone could launch a deadly cyber-attack tool to destroy the global economy, but it is highly unlikely that anyone will attempt this. “The last thing any of these three countries [the U.S., Russia and China] need is the world economy in ruins,” he said. “But it’s important to realize what is possible.”
John Smith spoke next. He focused on securing cyberspace. “In the new domain of cyberspace, the bad guys have some of the same old goals, but they have vast new powers given to them by the new nature of cyberspace,” Smith said. This creates a vulnerability that has never existed before. Smith compared cyberspace to the Death Star from Star Wars. It was destroyed by a simple vulnerability because it was designed to defend against a completely different threat.
“The law is traditionally slow and evolving,” Smith said. The swift jumps the world has made in technology have outstripped the evolution of law. It is extremely difficult for politicians to keep up with the legal struggles facing them in cyberspace.
Wallace, the final speaker, focused on the military aspects of cyber warfare. Wallace said that cyber war should not be defined as “war.” “It is vastly overused and vastly misunderstood,” he said.
He offered a few reasons that support his opposition to the use of the word “war” in terms of cyber threats. Wars involve violence. If you cause enough violence because of cyberspace, chances are it will escalate to a full-scale “general” war rather than a cyber-war. “Wars end, or at least we have an expectation that wars end,” he said. “Cyber security isn’t going away. The world is getting increasingly connected. And as a result of that, we’re becoming potentially more and more vulnerable to attacks through those networks.”
This seminar was designed to shed light on how interconnected the world has become through technology and cyberspace, and how these increasing connections make cyberspace more vulnerable. The experts who spoke demonstrated how cyber security is a pressing and relevant topic in the modern world.