The problem is that the song is not the same and the historic fit to the Cold War is actually not so neat. Cyberspace is a man-made domain of technological commerce and communication, not a geographical chessboard of competing alliances. The Cold War was a competition primarily between two superpowers, with political leadership and decision-making clearly located in Washington and Moscow, each the center of a network of allied treaties and client states, and a Third World zone over which they competed. By contrast, the Internet isn’t a network of governments, but the digital activities of 2 billion users, traveling across a network owned by an array of businesses, mostly 5,039 Internet service providers, that rely almost exclusively on handshake agreements to carry data from one side of the planet to the other […] The Cold War also was a war of ideas between two competing political ideologies. The majority of the Internet’s infrastructure is in the hands of these ISPs and carrier networks, as is the expertise to secure that infrastructure. The ideas at play sometimes touch on ideology, but they also range from issues of privacy and human rights to Twitter posts about Justin Bieber’s new haircut.

This disconnect goes much further. The barriers to entry for gaining the ultimate weapon in the Cold War, the nuclear bomb, were quite high. Only a few states could join the superpowers’ atomic club - and never in numbers that made these second-tier nuclear powers comparable to U.S. and Soviet forces. By comparison, the actors in cyberspace might range from thrill-seeking teenagers to criminal gangs to government-sponsored “patriotic hacker communities” to the more than 100 nation states that have set up military and intelligence cyberwarfare units.