[ISN] Major Cyber Attack Will Cause Significant Loss of Life By 2025, Experts Predict

http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/10/cyber-attack-will-cause-significant-loss-life-2025-experts-predict/97688/ By Patrick Tucker Defense One October 29, 2014 A major cyber attack will happen between now and 2025 and it will be large enough to cause “significant loss of life or property losses/damage/theft at the levels of tens of billions of dollars,” according to more than 60 percent of technology experts interviewed by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But other experts interviewed for the project “Digital Life in 2015,” released Wednesday, said the current preoccupation with cyber conflict is product of software merchants looking to hype public anxiety against an eternally unconquerable threat. It’s the old phantom of the “cyber Pearl Harbor,” a concept commonly credited to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta but that is actually as old as the world wide web. It dates back to security expert Winn Schwartau’s testimony to Congress in 1991, when he warned of an “electronic Pearl Harbor” and said it was “waiting to occur.” More than two decades later, we’re still waiting. The Pew report offers, if nothing else, an opportunity to look at how the cyber landscape has changed and how it will continue to evolve between now and 2025. Potential Infrastructure Vulnerabilities A key concern for many of the experts Pew interviewed is infrastructure, where very real cyber vulnerabilities do exist and are growing. Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the National Security Agency and a partner at Washington, D.C.-based law firm Steptoe & Johnson told Pew, “Cyberwar just plain makes sense. Attacking the power grid or other industrial control systems is asymmetrical and deniable and devilishly effective. Plus, it gets easier every year. We used to worry about Russia and China taking down our infrastructure. Now we have to worry about Iran and Syria and North Korea. Next up: Hezbollah and Anonymous.” […]