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Are We Ready for an Internet Cold War? | Big Think

Stashed in: Hackers!, Military!, @nealstephenson

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As the threat of a cyber war with the Chinese becomes more imminent, it's fascinating to consider how much the early stage of this cyber war actually resembles the Cold War of the nuclear age. Instead of the threat  of nuclear warheads capable of taking out communications systems and power grids, we now have malicious code capable of taking down nuclear reactors. The cloak-and-dagger spies we once read about in Le Carré  spy novels now have their counterpart in computer security sleuths. The same way we once financed the Iran-Contra rebels, we now finance the Twitter revolutionaries in the Middle East. We once conducted Black Ops and disavowed any knowledge of them later; now we claim complete ignorance of the StuxNet virus.

But are we ready for an Internet Cold War?

Most likely, we are not. As the Pentagon prepares its rules of engagement for a cyber war, our own defense systems appear woefully inadequate. We once talked of developing Star Wars "missile shields" to keep out nuclear warheads - but what are we doing to keep out malicious code and computer viruses? What are we doing to keep other nations from messing with our national infrastructure and our communications networks? What's our "nuclear deterrent" this time around?

Financing the Twitter revolutionaries sounds like a bad idea.

An Internet Cold War sounds like a REALLY bad idea.

On the other hand, it's a good time for a Matrix-style-movie cyber dystopia revival.

How long before William Gibson or Neal Stephenson hit the big screen?

Just re-read "China tied to hacking":

We've definitely entered a new era.

I love the image of what a "hacker" looks like.

This man is clearly committing corporate level cyber-crime. Note the suit and tie.

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