I just finished watching a great program on my favorite channel (The History Channel) called True Caribbean Pirates. It traces the story of piracy in the Caribbean from the 16th through the early 18th centuries. I was mostly interested in learning how the great powers of the day dealt with this problem, since I blogged about modern Pirates in the Malacca Strait and 18th and 19th century pirates off the Barbary Coast.
If many modern information security practitioners had been tasked with protecting commerce in the face of piracy, they would probably have bought ever more elaborate but largely ineffective defensive measures.
Instead, the royal navies of the area decided to hunt down pirates and hang them. Sure, the pirates continued their raids for a long time, but eventually the main players (England, France, Spain, Holland) stopped warring amongst themselves and directed their offensives against the pirates.
We're not going to see any fundamental changes in information security until those we elect to protect our rights rise to the task and go on the offensive. Private companies (especially modern ones) aren't in a position to "strike back" against threats -- that's the role for the police and militaries of the world. It's time to kill some pirates, not leave "critical infrastructure protection" to the "private sector."
For related thoughts please see last year's post Taking the Fight to the Enemy Revisited.