Cyber War I

Cyber War I

Cyberattack was just the latest directed against the United States by WikiLeaks last week: the release of an enormous cache of documents stolen from the Central Intelligence Agency. To visit the WikiLeaks website is to enter the trophy room.

Cyberattack was just the latest directed against the United States by WikiLeaks last week: the release of an enormous cache of documents stolen from the Central Intelligence Agency. To visit the WikiLeaks website is to enter the trophy room of what might be called Cyberia. Not all the leaked documents are American, to be sure. But you will look in vain for leaks calculated to embarrass the Russian government. Julian Assange may still skulk in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Cyber activities are now number one on the director of national intelligence’s list of threats. This is not just about WikiLeaks. The Pentagon alone reports more than 10 million attempts at intrusion each day.

 

Cyberattack

In recent years, the United States has found itself under cyberattack from Iran, North Korea and China. Yet these attacks were directed against companies & not the US government. Last year, using WikiLeaks and the Romanian blogger “Guccifer 2.0” as proxies, the Kremlin launched a sustained assault on the American political system itself.

The critical point is that Moscow was undeterred. For specialists in national security, this is only one of many features of cyberwar that are perplexing.

The three alternative options Nye proposes are simply to ramp up cyber security, to try to “entangle” potential aggressors in trade and other relationships (so as to raise the cost of cyberattacks to them), or to establish global taboos against cyber like the ones that have (mostly) held against biological and chemical weapons.

Analysis

Given the sheer number of cyber aggressors, defence seems doomed to lag offense. And the Russians have proved themselves to be indifferent to both entanglement and taboos.

How scared should we be of Cyberia?

Like the financial network, our social and business networks are under constant attack from fools and knaves, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. The most we can do is design and build our networks so that the ravages of Cyberia cannot trigger a complete outage.

Assessment

Donald Trump’s war has already begun: It is Cyber War I. Like all wars, its first casualty was truth. Unlike other wars, it will have no last casualty, as it is a war without end. Get used to it. Or get rid of your computer.

 

Source: The Boston Globe

Comments