The term “cyber warfare” has been thrown around for years, with security experts wondering what the effects of a damaging cyber attack might look like. Now we know: a Hollywood studio left paralyzed, and the center of the tech world is wondering what's next.
As the billboards advertising Sony Pictures' "The Interview" were pulled down in Hollywood on Thursday, concerns about cyber terrorism shot up in Silicon Valley.
"World War III looks like this,” said Michelle Dennedy, Intel Security's chief privacy officer. She said technology is the new battlefield, and our gadgets are all potential targets.
"This is the wave of the future,” Dennedy said. “Bank robbers robbed banks because that's where the money was. Data is currency. Hackers are going for it because it's valuable."
What happened at Sony should, according to cyber security experts, be a warning to us all.
"This is the first time we've seen it at this scale,” said Truman National Security Project’s Mike McNerney.
The goal of hackers is not just disruption, it's fear, McNerney said. "This is different. The way they were able to combine this online attack that got them the attention they wanted, and then mix this with threat of physical violence, it's something we really haven't seen before."
But it’s likely something we'll see again, as hackers try to invade banks, retailers, anything with an easy to open virtual door.
"I think everyone needs to be worried about this," McNerney said, “whether it's an organization, government entity, or an individual.”