Schneier slates misuse of 'cyberterrorism'

We should save 'terror' for the things that deserve it, not things that piss us off, says the security guru
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

Organisations are abusing the word "cyberterrorism" by using it to fuel their budgets, a security guru has claimed.

Speaking at the Infosec conference in London on Tuesday, renowned author and cryptography expert Bruce Schneier called cyberterrorism a myth that has yet to become to a threat to human life.

"Nobody's getting blown to bits," said Schneier. "I don't think that cyber terrorism exists — if you add 'terrorism' to things, you get more budget. If you can't get email for a day, you're not terrorised, you're inconvenienced."

Schneier added: "We should save 'terror' for the things that deserve it, not things that piss us off."

Schneier said that governments around the world, although having teams of specialist hackers on hand, were not attacking each other. "I don't believe there is that much government hacking. That's just silly -- adults don't do it. But we know that countries are spending money on military hacking organisations -- Israel, China, [the US] and everyone else."

The defacement of government Web sites is a small threat to governments, he said. "It's kids playing at politics. I don't think it's politically motivated."

Schneier added that the sophistication of worms and viruses was set to improve as hackers had developed reconnaissance viruses that are able to carry out vulnerability assessments and report back to the author.

Editorial standards