It might not be long before we return to the days of schoolchildren diving under their desks in warfare preparedness drills. Only now, instead of hiding from nukes, the kiddos may be unplugging their computers, since McAfee has indicated that a cyberarms race is taking place.

McAfee: Cyberwarfare A Big Threat
McAfee: Cyberwarfare A Big Threat

Dave DeWalt, the president and CEO of McAfee, said in a statement, “Several nations around the world are actively engaged in cyberwar-like preparations and attacks.” These include China, France, Israel, Russia, and the U.S., and it’s no secret that the members of this group aren’t all on great terms.

What’s more, cyberwarfare’s barrier to entry is so low in comparison to traditional hostilities (a roomful of computers vs. thousands of men, tanks, and airplanes) that lots of other countries are almost sure to pursue the idea.

Then, if and when the virtual bullets start flying, things could get really nasty. McAfee reported, “Attackers are not only building their cyberdefenses, but cyberoffenses, targeting infrastructure such as power grids, transportation, telecommunication, finance and water supplies, because damage can be done quickly and with little effort.”

At least this state of affairs would create a good job market for security professionals. Everybody else might benefit in a physical manner from the dive-and-unplug exercises, too.