The CSS Blog Network

Contested Public Attributions of Cyber Incidents and the Role of Academia

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In a recent article in Contemporary Security Policy, Florian J. Egloff reflects on the contested nature of public attributions of cyber incidents and what role academia could take up.

In the last five years, public attribution of cyber incidents has gone from an incredibly rare event to a regular occurrence. Just in October 2018, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre publicized its assessment of cyber activities conducted by the Russian military intelligence service (also known by its old acronym, the GRU). Clearly, publicizing activities that other political actors like to keep secret is a political act – but what kind of political act is it and what happens when a government publicly attributes?

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Initiators and Defenders in Major Cyber Theft Incidents, 2000 – 2018

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This graphic provides an overview of the nations in which major cyber theft incidents were initiated as well as the countries affected by these attacks between 2000 and 2018. To find out what this highlights about the eclipse of Western military-technological superiority, read Michael Hass’ chapter for Strategic Trends 2019 here.

Why Cyberattacks Don’t Work as Weapons

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This article was originally published by ETH Zurich in the Zukunftsblog on 18 January 2018.

Cyberattacks must also be understood as a phenomenon of political violence and combated as such, says Myriam Dunn Cavelty.

Digitalisation will fundamentally alter many aspects of our lives – in many cases for the better. However, our increasing dependence on computers and networks for data exchange and storage is creating new vulnerabilities for both individuals and society. The key word here is: cybersecurity. This encompasses more than just technical solutions: it involves not only security in cyberspace, but also security that is influenced by cyberspace.

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Cyber War – And Nobody Will Come?

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This article was originally published by the ETH Zukunftsblog on 15 June 2018.

Myriam Dunn Cavelty calls for a realistic assessment of what state institutions can do to combat cyberattacks.

When a cyberattack has been orchestrated by a state actor, people may be tempted to call it “war”. After all, it’s an attack waged on national infrastructures by a foreign power. But the term “cyber war” has been used so often for dramatic effect that I don’t just want to warn against hype. It’s also time to dampen expectations regarding the scope of governmental intervention.

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Deterrence in Cyberspace

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This article was originally published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on 1 June 2018.

Foreword

In the past three years, barely a week has gone by without a report of a critical cyberattack on a business or government institution. We are constantly bombarded by revelations of new ransomware strains, new botnets executing denial of service attacks, and the rapidly expanding use of social media as a disinformation and propaganda platform.

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