Civilian nets face most security risks

IDG NEWS SERVICE

LONDON - Despite the threat to military targets from information warfare, it is actually commercial civilian networks that are at the greatest risk, according to a recent study.

"There is more uncertainty and more potential for disruption in the domestic and economic spheres than in the military arena," according to the report, called "Keeping Information War in Perspective," by D.C. Gompert of the Washington-based Rand consultancy.

"The biggest single contributing factor to corporate information warfare is the reluctance to reveal instances of information theft or compromise," Maxim Kovel, a U.S. defense consultant, said.

However, there are significant legal and regulatory problems in policing the networks. "If somebody from Europe attacks a U.S. network or vice versa, how do you prosecute them?" Kovel asked.

Furthermore, there is no single, cohesive strategy to protect both military and civilian networks. No one organization is responsible for protecting all networks in the United States or in Europe.

Also, observers said, it would be naive to assume that all government efforts are to protect domestic networks when governments openly acknowledge offensive capabilities aimed at their foes.

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