Alfred Rollington, author and director of Cyber Security Intelligence Ltd., has written an article "Government, Cyber Attacks, Terrorism & Piracy" which puts the digital revolution and cyber security into historical perspective.
As mechanization took over workers' muscles and bodies, so computers are replacing our brains, machines and infrastructure. Cyber is also revolutionizing warfare just as aircraft did in the 20th century.
In Rollington's words, electronic data is "becoming an open door to insecurity". Intelligence agencies are recording high volumes of encrypted traffic and using it for analysis. Computer systems require senior management's understanding and involvement, and should not be left to technologists.
Rollington draws a parallel between the development of the oceans for human use and the expansion of the internet. Oceans were used for trade and fishing, and today cyberspace is used for commerce and social networking. Piracy developed to attack ocean commerce, sometimes aided and abetted by governments. Today cyber piracy and cyber warfare attack businesses and governments. Russia, China and other countries participate in these attacks.
To date, cyber security has not been effective. It is estimated that 90% of small and medium businesses do not have adequate cyber security protection. Cyber crime and terrorism have advantages over physical attacks: they can be controlled economically, secretly and at a distance, and the results can be devastating. Attacks can be expected to increase, and become more complex and interdependent.
It took governments a thousand years to control ocean piracy. Fortunately, agencies aimed to control cyber crime are evolving and efforts to safeguard information are becoming more sophisticated and efficient.