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April 2004

Cyberwar myths: Are cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism overblown?

We've lived under the cyberwar/cyberterrorist cloud for more than a decade. But, we've yet to see a single, credible "cyberwarfare" event. And there's good reason: Cyberwarfare simply isn't an effective form of warfare. A digital attack could cause significant disruptions, but it wouldn't come close to the specter of nuclear Armageddon during the Cold War. To better understand the hollowness of this threat, let's debunk five key myths of cyberwarfare: Cyberwarfare Is New. Dust off your history books. Combatants have used information-based countermeasures and deception since ancient times. In the modern context, the only difference is that it occurs in cyberspace. During the late-1990s war in Bosnia, hackers reportedly attacked NATO headquarters, disrupting communications channels to stop the bombing of Serbian positions. Assuming this did happen (NATO never confirmed the report), the cyberattacks would have forced NATO to take some counteraction. But, the Serbians and their underground supporters had little effect on the bombing...

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