No, I'm not talking about a Linux vs. Microsoft or Apple vs Microsoft but rather a prediction by UN Telecommunications Agency Chief Hamadoun Toure'. Apparently, the U.S. Homeland Security and other U.S.-based paranoia groups agree since US Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said that she received the green light to hire up to 1,000 cybersecurity experts to ramp up the United States' defenses against cyber threats. Need a job?
To launch such an attack successfully would take thousands of experienced hackers in different locations simultaneously attacking a site or sites with malicious intent. Depending on the type of attack, it would easily be thwarted with IP bans, router bandwidth restrictions or reverse denials of service. And, not just from the U.S. Any country with ISPs worth their salt would catch these attacks and deny access to the users initiating them. An attack like this would also require a lot of bandwidth and would easily show up in bandwidth reports.
If it is a foreign government sanctioned attack, once the culprit is identified, it's bombs away on them. I don't see that a full-scale cyber war is possible. The renegades would be cut off, identified and dealt with in non-cyberspace ways.
Is such an attack possible? Yes. But it would have to be well-coordinated and extremely covert. So, is an attack like this likely? No. I don't see WWIII being waged in cyberspace--a cute thought but it wouldn't work. But, hey, if it means hiring 1,000 cyber security nerds for government jobs, more power to the paranoia. I just hope they select their 'experts' more wisely than I'm going to assume they will. My guess is that any cyber security breaches will come from within the ranks of those hired to prevent such attacks.
"I don't know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein