A new arms race began a few years back and its rapid revolutions will make the cold war era look like a minuscule research project for a white paper!

The new race is to develop offensive, defensive and intelligence collection capabilities for cyber space operations.

Based on publicly available research, the cyber arms race really began back in the early to mid 1990s. However, having combed through that research, and having put together my own cyber weapons evolution chart, which I’ve published in the “Cyber Commander’s Handbook,” the race dramatically accelerated in 2002 and has remained on a hyper development path ever since.

Unlike the cold war that had a single front with Russia and the United States facing off, the cyber arms race has multiple fronts.

Today, terrorist organizations, rogue nation states like China and Iran, criminal organizations and political hacktivists like hacker group Anonymous are all working to develop and use this new class of weaponry.

Now consider the fact that private for profit organizations are in the same race, some backed by venture capital.

Add all this up and you get just a glimpse of the current state of the cyber cold war. Just wait, it gets worse!

Two of the most recent and successful cyber attacks hit organizations that are cyber weapons developers, potentially stealing secret documents detailing cyber weapons plans.

All this adds up to one thing: A cyber arms race is well underway! This arms race differs greatly from all others in history and traditional arms control doctrine and techniques will not effective against this class of weaponry.

Kevin G. Coleman is a long-time security technology executive and former Chief Strategist at Netscape. He is Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute, where he provides consulting services on strategic technology and security issues.