Conflicts in cyberspace are a reality: elements of any political, economic and military conflict now take place in and around the internet.
There also is a widespread tendency to hype the issue with rhetorical dramatization and alarmist warnings.
the number one law in the cyberage is: don’t panic. The number two law: be precise in your use of language.
A conceptual distinction between different forms of conflict in cyberspace is necessary if we are to assess the risk and its possible consequences, to assign responsibility for addressing the conflict, but also to discuss the possibility and implementation of preventive and reactive countermeasures. Broad and imprecise use of the term cyberwar must be avoided — as should fear-based (over-)reactions.
Different forms of cyber conflict can be distinguished by focusing on the extent of damage and a cyber-escalation ladder can be built with rungs expressed by ‘severity of effects’. This helps policy-makers to prioritize: only computer attacks whose effects are sufficiently destructive or disruptive are an issue that needs to be addressed at the political level. Attacks that disrupt non-essential services, or that are mainly a costly nuisance, are not.
the world has yet to see an act of cyber terrorism.