The "Korean" Cyber Attacks and Their Implications for Cyber Conflict
October 23, 2009
Topics discussed in the paper:
When does a cyber attack become an act of war?
Deterrence in cyberspace
Norms and thesholds
Political constraints on cyber attack
Non-state actors in cyberspace
Among the major points made by the paper:
- Uncertainty in attribution, collateral damage, and effect, is the key feature of cyber conflict.
- Cyber conflict is shaped by implicit norms and thresholds.
- Militaries now have the capability to launch damaging cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, but serious cyber attack independent of a larger military conflict is unlikely.
- Non-state actors do not yet have the capability to launch a serious cyber attack, they will be able to acquire these from the cybercrime black market in less than a decade.
- The United States has pre-eminent offensive cyber capabilities, but it obtains little deterrent benefit from this.
- The United States is uniquely vulnerable and would gain more from international engagement.