He said more than 40 countries now publicly admitted to having offensive capabilities in cybersecurity.
"They are all investing heavily in these capabilities," he said. "Now they realise, they can do a lot more than the average hacker or cyber hacker and they realise it's the golden key to anything linked to a computer."
He said attempts to sabotage a country's economy, and spy on them or leak information, had become incredibly cheap and easy to do.
SECURITY TRUMPS PRIVACY
But others argued that the security of the internet, which had become a vital platform for commerce and politics, was arguably more critical than privacy.
Dr Gayken said he was sceptical of claims that cybersecurity was an insurmountable problem that could only be solved by larger military budgets.
"[Security] is not working because people like the way it is, dominated by cautious agencies who don't want to rock the boat," he said.
He said that there is sufficient progress and technologies had been to make networks more secure.
"It's possible to make the internet safer. It's just not being done. We need to take a bite out of computer science that can make this environment dramatically more secure."
He said moves to boost government capabilities in cybersecurity inevitably drained resources from the private sector, making government secures sound while leaving the public internet inherently less secure.
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