Israel is among the three leaders in readiness to fight cyber warfare, which most global experts think is already taking place, according to a new report from McAfee and Security & Defense Agenda (SDA), a leading defense and security think-tank in Brussels.

”If you want to hit a country severely, you hit its power and water supplies. Cyber technology can do this without shooting a single bullet," said Isaac Ben-Israel, cyber security advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Finland and Sweden are the other top nations prepared for cyber attacks, while China, Russia and India rank low on the totem pole.

The report is based on interviews with global experts, of whom 57 percent believe a cyber arms race is underway.

Other findings are:

-- 36 percent believe cyber-security is more important than missile defense;

  • -- 43 percent identified damage or disruption to critical infrastructure as the greatest single threat posed by cyber attacks with wide economic consequences;

  • -- 45 percent believe that cyber security is as important as border security.

The readiness of the United States and Britain ranks behind that of Israel, according to the report, which also cited the need for international standards and law enforcement to combat cyber-crime.

“Until we can pool our data and equip our people and machines with intelligence, we are playing chess with only half the pieces,” said Phyllis Schneck, McAfee’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Global Public Sector.

The report called on industry to increase “cyber exercises.”

Global treaties are not enough and “delude western countries into thinking they have some protection against tactics that have been unilaterally abandoned by other treaty signatories,” Stewart Barker, the former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, stated in the report.