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Dr. Strangelove in cyberspace: Experts warn of cyber arms race

"Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret"
"Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret"

In addition, 36% of policy makers and experts believe cybersecurity is more important than missile defense, and 45% believe it is as important as border security.

Cyber-security: The Vexed Question of Global Rules is based on a survey of 80 policy makers and cybersecurity experts in government, business, and academic sectors in 27 countries, and an anonymous survey of 250 leaders in 35 countries.

The report found that 43% of respondents identified damage or disruption to critical infrastructure as the greatest single threat posed by cyberattacks, with wide economic consequences. A full 63% of respondents said that cybersecurity funding needs to be protected from budget cuts.

The report also examined the current state of cyber preparedness around the world, concluding that the US, Australia, UK, China, and Germany lag behind smaller countries such as Israel, Sweden and Finland.

“There is a need for real-time global information sharing….The idea is that companies on the ‘good guy’ side can pool the data, put it all together in real time, and make the network fabric more intelligent”, said Phyllis Schneck, chief technology officer with McAfee’s Global Public Sector.

“The cyber adversaries are fast, they are smart, and they have trusted information-sharing relationships. They don’t have any legal barriers to sharing data, and they have nice pockets of funding, sometimes from nation states. So they execute very well and very quickly, and we have to go to meetings and write reports in order to share even a little amount of data. That is why we are losing so far”, Schneck told Infosecurity.

“Globally, we all know we need to work together, and we know there are challenges that we need to overcome fast because this is what will enable us to get ahead of the cyber adversary”, she added.

The experts surveyed agreed that developments like smartphones and cloud computing mean a whole new set of problems linked to interconnectivity and sovereignty that require new regulations and new thinking, according to the report.

In addition, more than half of the respondents warned about a coming cybersecurity skills shortage. “The cyber workforce, those who are skilled in cyber resilience, likely can’t support the need” in the future, Schneck said.

The report recommended that governments and industry take the following steps to improve cybersecurity: real-time global information sharing, financial incentives for critical improvements in security for both private and public sectors, more power to law enforcement to combat crossborder cybercrime, development of best practice-led international security standards, effective enforcement of global cybersecurity treaties, conducting public awareness campaigns, and improved participation by industry in government-sponsored cybersecurity exercises.

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