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Institutions that depend on computer systems must at present assume they have to depend on their own resources for defence against cyber attacks. As Jason Healey, the former White House Director of Cyber Infrastructure Protection, has admitted, if the United States is engaged in a cyberwar, Americans would be far better served by contacting Microsoft or AT&T rather than the Department of Homeland Security. This high-risk problem is unlikely to be mitigated by government agencies in the short to medium term. A variety of systemic cyber protection weaknesses and increasingly aggressive attackers suggests that the intensity of cyber attacks will continue to increase over the short to medium term. Most Western governments--Sweden and Finland appear to be exceptions-- are incapable of deterring or preventing trans-border cyber attacks and do not have the means to effectively retaliate or escalate after an attack or exploitation. Thus without a significant deterrent ability, it is likely that cross-border cyber attacks and exploitation will continue unabated.



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