Perspective: The First 'E-war'
Not long ago, I had dinner with a former military officer who participated in information warfare “what-if” exercises that the Pentagon and the White House ran in the late 1990s. “If Saddam ever attacks the U.S. through the Internet and takes out a telecommunications firm, we’ll be in a state of war,” my dinner companion told me. “All bets are off. The Fourth Amendment is on hold. If EarthLink is attacked, the Army could show up and seize control of their servers.” That was news to me. Might a shadowy corps of U.S. hacker-soldiers be ready to defend my e-mail in-box from an angry Saddam Hussein seeking revenge for a strike on Iraq? Would using the military to defend U.S. companies even be legal? Or was this a bad knockoff of a Tom Clancy novel? It turns out that the best thinking about cyberwar remains in flux, even after military wonks and nicely compensated Beltway contractors have spent the better part of a decade noodling over it. The reason: We’re still waiting for the first real cyberwar between nations to take place. Full Story