Cyber Weapons Are Proliferating Beyond Control

Cybersecurity headlines in recent years have been dominated by companies losing money by being hacked and leaking the data of millions of customers. 

But today, cybersecurity is moving beyond the financial impact to concerns over public safety, national security and even cyberwarfare. 

To understand the state of cyberwar and its potential impact, we should all keep in mind two things:

1. The proliferation of Cyber-Weapons is already happening

Countries are already stockpiling cyber-weapons that they can use against each other. These weapons could cause real world damage to public infrastructure, public utilities, and other facilities that could endanger people's lives and crash economies. 

The United States, China, and Russia are the most well-known stockpilers of cyber-weapons, but there are plenty of others engaged in the cyber-weapons arms race. 

We even saw during the 2018 US midterms that there were reports America was preparing a cyber-weapons attack on Russia if it was discovered that the Russians hacked the US election.

2. Arms control of Cyber-Weapons hasn't caught up

While the world has a decades-long history of treaties governing the use of weapons of mass destruction such as ballistic missiles, biochemical weapons, and nuclear arms, very little has been done yet to regulate cyber-weapons. 

The challenge is that most lawmakers and government officials have minimal understanding of how these weapons work, how they differ from traditional weapons, and the true dangers they can pose. 

The other challenge is that it is far faster and cheaper to create and stockpile cyber-weapons than traditional weapons. 

We should take a lesson from history and remember that both of the world wars were preceded by years of unchecked weapons buildup.

ZDNet:

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