“When we’re talking about the sort of threats we face, particularly on the military side of cyber warfare, no private sector entity can beat them,” Lewis said. “Think of thousands of people with hundreds of millions of dollars whose sole purpose is to break into your network; they’re gonna win.”
Lance Hoffman, a specialist in computer security, privacy and risk analysis at George Washington University, called for faster action from the intelligence community.
“Do we have to wait for the cyber 9/11?” he asked.
Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, argued instead for greater information sharing between governments and corporations.
“If there are pockets of information that agencies like the NSA have, they need to be shared more readily with the Googles of the world so they can better defend themselves,” he said.
Lewis said Google is a good example of a huge, wealthy, high-tech company that thought it was invulnerable.
"The Chinese creamed them," Lewis said, referring to the spate of attacks on Google users and others allegedly originating from China.
Business Software Alliance President Robert Holleyman recommended key areas Congress will need to address in order to move forward on a coherent Internet defense policy.
“There ought to be a cyber “9-1-1” -- a place where business organizations that have been exposed to a cyber threats know readily and easily where they go to report that to the federal government -- it needs to be easier,” Holleyman said.
“Cyberspace as a battlefield is much more complicated then other military battlefields," Nojeim said. "It calls for caution, care, consultation with Congress.”