Haven't we lived in a cyber war in which an invisible enemy is targeting our digital lives via an increasingly complex net of computing devices?
Perhaps, but Thomas Rid from London's King's College believes that our current environment does not reflect a war scenario in its traditional meaning. In the end, his claim comes down to the definition of war: According to Rid, the phrase of "cyber warfare" implies a "potentially lethal, instrumental and political act of force." However, there has not been a cyber attack to could be described as physical force. "Politically motivated cyber attacks are simply a more sophisticated version of activities that have always occurred within warfare: Sabotage, espionage and subversion," Rid said.
Rid even referred to very sophisticated tools such as the Stuxnet worm that reportedly took out more than a thousand Iranian centrifuges and affected the country's nuclear activities. However, Stuxnet would still qualify as sabotage and not as warfare, according to Rid, who specializes in cyber security research.
The question appears to be whether the definition of "warfare" has to be slightly adjusted in the digital age or not. Would we call and act that indirectly causes fatalities, such as an attack on a nation's critical infrastructure, an act of war?