Ira Winkler prognosticates on the possibility of a catastrophic online international event. Interesting? For 15 years now, I have been publicly lambasting all of those people who have made their careers, or at least made fleeting news headlines, based on their declaration of an imminent Electronic Pearl Harbor. My disdain is based on several factors, but predominantly the lack of accountability for such statements.

One industry analyst, for example, stated that there will be such an event by the end of 2003. Six years later, I didn't see anyone revisit the utter lack of such an event.

However, I now see things developing to the point where there can be a strategic attack on computer infrastructures. The key word is Strategic.

Another major issue I have with the people who stake their fame in information warfare is the lack of apparent understanding in the concept of military and geopolitical issues. Specifically, strategy implies long term impacts, generally at least 3-6 months. Tactical attacks have short term impacts. Yes, we have had many tactical attacks against different infrastructures. However, comparing these attacks to Pearl Harbor is insulting.

Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike against the US Pacific Fleet. It significantly degraded the US Naval capability for several years. If the aircraft carriers were in Pearl Harbor as the Japanese expected, it could have been a complete knockout blow. So the question becomes, what can make a computer attack strategic?

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