I do believe this is a new type of war, but new is a funny term. I think as long as the internet has been a thing that citizens use, there has been attacks on citizens as well as government entities. People always find a way to get new technologies to work for them, especially if they’re willing to steal, and stealing on the internet is like stealing in a low-lit alley. It’s quiet, dark, stealthy, and if you don’t know that it’s there, you’re not going to see it coming up on you.
It has always been said that information is power, and the internet is information. Housing our intellectual property on such a nebulous thing is tricky. It is handy, due to the ease of communication and it’s vast size, but it is also hard to guard. The story of the “Great Brain Robbery” was particularly distressing. Try as they might, that corporation could not keep their technology plans secure. They knew they were subject to attack and they were still attacked. I found the story quite disheartening.
I think as information professionals, it would be wise to school the public on how they are at risk. Like having quilting classes and how to use Microsoft Word, libraries should inform the general public how to protect their information. Perhaps things like: how to use a credit card securely online, what sites to use/avoid, how to manage intellectual property online, and general information on what is exactly going on in the world of global cyber espionage. Most people are in the dark, I think, and one thing we do as library professionals is inform. It seems that we are entering into a particular dicey future, cyber-information-wise, and we need to let the citizens we serve to know what they’re already a part of, and do not even know.