Cyber Wars: Is a Digital Pearl Harbor in Our Future?

We've seen plenty of massive data breaches in recent years— thefts that involve the personal info of hundreds of millions of people and cost the affected companies hundreds of millions of dollars. So far, however, we seem not to have learned our lesson. Cybersecurity continues to take a back seat to dozens of other issues in corporate boardrooms, in legislative chambers, and in the media.

It's time to ask the obvious question: how much worse do things need to get before our attitudes change?

At PKWARE's first Cyber Wars event, a roundtable discussion including cybersecurity experts from government, the media, and the academic world, one of the most common observations was that security breaches have the potential to be much worse than the ones we've experienced so far. Many panelists expressed the concern that the public and private sector will continue to avoid dealing with cybersecurity until a truly catastrophic event—an attack that causes widespread, long-term damage—forces our society to give cybersecurity the attention it deserves.

It's anyone's guess what that catastrophic attack might look like. It could take the form of sabotage against our critical infrastructure, an attack on the global financial system, or an attempt to undermine our national defenses. We can assume that all of those attacks, and many others, are in the planning stages somewhere, whether by terrorist groups, criminal organizations, or hostile nations.

It doesn't have to happen, though. By continuing to bring together stakeholders from the public and private sector, PKWARE is working to move the cybersecurity conversation forward and foster the development of a truly effective cybersecurity strategy, one that can stop that catastrophic attack before it happens.