McAfee indulges in bout of cyber scare mongering

Self-interested anti-virus corporation McAfee has thrust a press release into the public domain suggesting we should all get into a spin because of “cyber warfare”.

It has commissioned 20 so-called “experts” for its Virtual Criminology Report 2009.

“War is not a term to be tossed around lightly. That is why the growing debate over cyber war has caught our attention,” CEO DaveDeWait says in a foreword to the report. “our goal at McAfee is not to create hype or stoke unwarranted fear…there is little disagreement that there are increasing numbers of cyber attack that more closely resemble political conflict than crime.”

It continues: “Many international security and cyber security experts say that the critical infrastructure of nation states – banking and finance, electrical grids, oil and gas refineries and pipelines, water and sanitation utilities, telecommunications systems – are all likely targets in future wars….Private companies will be caught in the crossfire.”

The report then goes on to mention a couple of incidents that have already happened including Georgia, South Korea and the United States.

It drags in Carl von Clausewitz and his book On War.

It points out that the world is more and more reliant on information systems but has trouble coming to a definition of what cyber war actually is.

It says that countries are developing advanced offensive cyber capabilities and continues: “Cyber war is not occurring right now, but nation states are definitely in competition.” The report is here.