Similar to the Cold War, preparations are being made in case of cyber war

A report compiled by security company McAfee notes there are a growing number of governments across the world that are preparing for potential cyber conflicts with other nations.

The United States continues to receive cyber attacks against computer networks from numerous sources overseas, though other nations also are becoming worried about the cyber capabilities of other nations.  China, for example, said its defense ministry computer network has been attacked more than 2 million times since launching a few months ago.

"There are at least five countries known to be arming themselves for this kind of conflict," McAfee Europe analyst Greg Day told the BBC. "To go to physical war requires billions of dollars. To go to cyber war most people can easily find the resources that could be used in these kinds of attacks."

The 2009 Virtual Criminology report also indicates nations are stockpiling tools and techniques -- similar to the Cold War conflict between the United States and Russia -- in case a cyber standoff does take place.  A major difference between the two conflicts, however, is that smaller, more unstable nations also can easily have a hand in cyber conflicts with other countries.

Large-scale organized cyber attacks would likely focus on a city or region's infrastructure, with the ability to shut off electricity, water, and other vital services necessary.  However, companies operating in the private sector are highly likely to  get caught up in rival nations launching cyber attacks against one another.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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