By Robert Mullins
The term "cyberwar" has been bandied about in recent years as a catchall
term for the hackers stealing credit card numbers or spreading spam, but
also much more nefarious schemes such as breaking into a electricity
grid. At a recent cybersecurity conference, one Microsoft security
executive said we might need global rules on how to fight such threats.
Scott Charney, vice president of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing
Group, spoke at the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in Dallas last week
and said there needs to be a distinction between cybercriminals merely
stealing money and cyberwar, possibly conducted by nation-states, that
is aimed at crippling a target in another country, such as a power grid
or an oil pipeline.
An Associated Press report on the conference, which was picked up by the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, quotes Charney as saying that
international treaties designed to fight cyberwar are difficult to
establish because of the murky nature of what "cyberwar" is.
The United Nations last month rejected a Russian proposal for a new
cybercrime treaty, leaving in place a 2001 treaty that Russia opposes
because it gives foreign governments too much leeway to pursue
cybercriminals across borders.
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