What Is an Act of Cyberwar?

CyberwarTrade War Versus Cyberwar. Cyberbreaches have graduated from a hacker foolery to headline news. After recent Mandiant report, we are rightly outraged and witnessing a call to arms from all corners, political and private, to defend our national assets, a intellectual property, technology, future designs and plans, from exploitation by China and other countries. Actions of these adversaries constitute another form of trade war, but do they represent “cyberwar”? While it is imperative to take action, we need to be careful how we frame the problem; how we use the terminology “cyberwar”. Are we in the midst of an unprecedented campaign of state sanctioned trade warfare? Absolutely. Are the losses we are encountering detrimental to our nation and economic competitiveness on a global scale? Without question. Should we take action to protect our corporate and government networks from compromise while deterring our adversaries? Of course. But does this activity rise to the traditional definition of “war” and does it warrant the instruments of warfare? When it comes to cyber-espionage and its application to trade warfare, my answer is no. We must use existing range of trade diplomacy levers and sanctions to apply pressure on China and other countries engaged in illicit trade warfare via cyber-exploitation. Escalation in the cyberworld is easy and the blowback is an uncontrolled risk. Principles of proportionality and deterrence are essential to ensure the cure is not worse than disease. Unless and until our critical infrastructures that provide energy, transportation, water, finance for our nation are attacked, we should not be responding with the instruments of war, whether it be cyber or kinetic. Today, a trade warfare is initiated through a spearphish, in which a simple click can lead to a loss of corporate secrets in a matter of minutes. Best offense is a strong defense and attribution of attacks. Our most important challenge is not taking the fight to the enemy, but rather having courage and political will to defend our own national treasures.

Room For Debate: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/02/28/what-is-an-act-of-cyberwar


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to What Is an Act of Cyberwar?

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: I like the approach taken by the author. However, to distinguish between trade and cyber war is becoming difficult in this highly interconnected global economy. There is one aspect of this so called cyber war that worries me, though. All information of cyber attacks on US sites are originated in PRIVATE internet security firms such as the latest Mandiant Report. These internet security companies are not neutral or uninterested actors. Their multimillionaire business is to provide cyber security for governments and international enterprises. The business model works in the same principle of defense spending. Without external threat is hard to justify money spent on the military. This, in turn, gives incentive for deception on a large scale. If there is no credible external threat, the government creates one. Cyber warfare 2013. Phony or a real war?



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