Web security company warns of 'cyber arms race'
Warning of a "cyber arms race," top Web security firm McAfee Inc. said Tuesday that China, France, Israel, Russia and the United States have developed "cyber weapons."
"Several nations around the world are actively engaged in cyberwar-like preparations and attacks," he said. "Today, the weapons are not nuclear, but virtual, and everyone must adapt to these threats."
The Santa Clara, California-based McAfee, in its fifth annual "Virtual Criminology Report," said China, France, Israel, Russia and the United States were countries that have developed "advanced offensive cyber capabilities."
McAfee said cyberattacks were on the rise and "cyberwarfare is a reality."
"Over the past year, the increase in politically motivated cyberattacks has raised alarm and caution, with targets including the White House, Department of Homeland Security, US Secret Service and Department of Defense in the US alone.
"Nation-states are actively developing cyberwarfare capabilities and involved in the cyber arms race, targeting government networks and critical infrastructures," it said.
"The result of a cyberattack of this nature can result in physical damage and death -- it's not just a war between computers, cyberwarfare can cause real devastation," McAfee said.
The Web security company said critical infrastructure such as power grids, transportation, telecommunication, finance and water supplies was particularly vulnerable.
"In most developed countries, critical infrastructure is connected to the Internet and lacks proper security functions, leaving these installations vulnerable to attacks," it said.
The McAfee report was prepared by cybersecurity expert Paul Kurtz, a former White House adviser.