Sunday, February 01, 2009

World Economic Forum Short on Answers to Cyber Warfare and Computer Crime

The World Economic Forum in Davos held a panel discussion on cyber threats and named cyber warfare as one of the top three (crime and the basic design of the web were the other two).

Most of the discussion of cyber warfare centered around Russian attacks against its neighbors but also discussed the difficulty of control on the Internet:

"...the internet[sic] is a global network, it doesn't obey traditional boundaries, and traditional ways of policing don't work," one expert said."
The panel also discussed what should be done about the problem and it appears from news reports that there were no new ideas. In fact, some panelists seemed to think just letting things work themselves out was the best answer:

"But several panellists worried about the heavy hand of government. The internet's strength was its open nature. Centralising it would be a huge threat to innovation, evolution and growth of the web.

"The amount of control required [to exclude all risk] is quite totalitarian," one of them warned.

"Instead they suggested to foster the civic spirit of the web, similar to the open source software movement and the team that had sorted the YouTube problem"

While no one wants "totalitarian" control of the Internet, it is dangerously naive to think that fostering "civic spirit" would even begin to make a dent in computer crime. In fact, one could argue that civic spirit is a major motivator for politically motivated cyber attacks.

Cybercrime threat rising sharply

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