The New York Times cyberwar report over the weekend that the U.S is escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid worries former White House cybersecurity officials.
“The idea that we can use cyber offense capabilities to impose sabotage-like effects, and to do so in increasingly large scale and costly ways until they get it through their head that they can’t win, I don’t think that’s going to work,” says Tom Bossert, who served as White House homeland security advisor and the president’s most senior cybersecurity-focused official until April of last year. “I want to make sure we don’t end up in an escalatory cyber exchange where we lose more than they do.”
In an interview with WIRED, Bossert pointed out that in many respects the US economy and infrastructure is far more reliant on digitization and automation than Russia’s, giving the Kremlin an inherent advantage in any future no-holds-barred cyberwar.
“If you’re doused in gasoline, don’t start a match-throwing contest.”