Dr Sally Leivesley, a former Home Office scientific adviser, said rogue states such as North Korea are already developing technology that can infiltrate defence systems and shut down power grids.
Her warning follows the huge data hack on TalkTalk that has hit four million customers who face having their bank accounts drained and personal details stolen.
Russian “cyberjihadists” have claimed responsibility for the attack although the true perpetrators remain unknown.
There is a suspicion the Russian government sponsored the attack on telecoms giant TalkTalk and stolen data has been passed on for espionage use.
Dr Leivesley wants to see a team of international observers set up to monitor cyber technology in the same way they monitor nuclear armaments.
She says states that repeatedly allow their hardware, like routers or servers, to be used by hackers or cyber terrorists should also face sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
Hackers have a licence to cause mayhem in the West for political gain, say experts
Dr Leivesley told the Sunday Express: “Cyber is now the new nuclear. In international security, cyber is a highly deniable way to attack countries and it’s much less messy than a nuclear attack.
“If we look at critical infrastructure, whether it be our electrical grid or petro-chemical facilities, anything that can cause huge damage or huge loss of productivity becomes a weapon.
“Yet we are doing nothing that stops strategic cyber weapons. While we’ve got nuclear non-proliferation and placed strong arrangements against nuclear development, we are doing nothing that stops strategic cyber weapons.
Read the full article on Express.