The CSS Blog Network

From Cybercrime to Cyberwarfare: The Dimensions of Cybersecurity

New weapon of mass destruction? Photo courtesy of ktvyeow/flickr

Defence IQ has published a very interesting podcast on cybersecurity with Dr Nigel Inkster. He is the Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

The talk clarifies some important dimensions about the spectrum of activities from cybercrime to full blown cyberwarfare. The context of two major cybersecurity events, a cyber-attack in Georgia during the 2008 South Ossetia war and a 2009 attack in the UK on MI5 are considered.

The talk addresses the potential dimensions and impact of cyberwarfare (on military vs. civilian targets) For the most extreme forms of cyberwarfare, Dr Inkster notes, “…none of these attacks are going to be confined to the military domain, all of them are going to have a significant impact on civilian populations.” He further outlines areas of potential vulnerabilities to infrastructure.

The podcast ends with a consideration of the efforts that governments are making to develop defensive and offensive capabilities.

Defense IQ is a cyber security forum that provides military personnel and the defence community throughout the world with information regarding current military and defence issues. It offers focused content such as podcasts and presentations, and hosts webinars, conferences and summits on defense issues.

Please also check out our Special Report on cyberwarfare.

ISN Weekly Theme: Social Resilience

Basketball bouncing

Can society bounce back after catastrophe? Photo: Kristin/flickr

In a new millennium that must face complex, transnational challenges ranging from climate disruption to cyberwar, averting disaster is not always an option. How then can society quickly rebound from unavoidable disruptions to its social fabric? Social resilience helps guide us toward a sustainable answer.

This ISN Special Report contains the following content:

  • Jamais Cascio’s Analysis outlines a vision for the resilient society of the future.
  • In our Podcast interview Jennifer Giroux discusses the concept of resilience in light of the Iceland volcano eruption, particularly the impact of social media and the private vs public sector relationship.
  • A Security Watch article about “The Complexity of Social Resilience” by Professor Norman Vasu of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, like the Center for Security Studies’ policy brief, “Resilience: A Tool for Preparing and Managing Emergencies.”
  • Links to relevant websites, among them the UN’s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
  • Our IR Directory with relevant organizations, such as the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, which provides a research outlet for ‘non-traditional’ security studies, like social resilience.

Buzzword ‘Cyberwar’

Cyberwar: Concept, Status Quo, and Limitations

Cyberwar: Concept, Status Quo, and Limitations (istock.com)

For all the talk about cyberwar, what does it actually mean?

In a recent policy brief, Myriam Dunn defines it as “warlike conflict in the virtual space that primarily involves information technology means.”

According to her, it’s the last rung on the ladder of cyberconflict, as measured by potential damage.

While milder forms of cyberconflict – cybervandalism, internet crime and cyberespionage – are relatively frequent, we lack established knowledge on potentially more destructive forms such as cyberterrorism and cyberwar.  This is why the debate on cyberwar is extremely prone to speculation, she warns.

You can download the paper here.

Also, you may want to check the ISN’s Digital Library for further resources on information and cyber warfare.

ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar

Photo: wokka/flickr

Photo: wokka/flickr


Nebulous at best, incomprehensible at worst: International norms surrounding cybersecurity have left some countries trailing in their efforts to secure their data and networks. We’re focusing on these issues and more in the ISN Weekly Theme: The Fog of Cyberwar.

And as always, feel free to follow us on Twitter.

The Intricate Ways of Cybersecurity

crnThe CSS Expert Community “Crisis and Risk Network” (CRN) has just released a new report on strategies and policies in the field of Cybersecurity. Based on the cybersecurity strategies of the US, the UK, NATO and other actors, the paper explores what cybersecurity actually means, puts forward possible responses to the perceived threats and discusses that with a focus on the Swiss situation. The authors argue that the underlying problem to cybersecurity policies is that it remains unclear what is threatened, who is threatening, and what the potential consequences of cyberattacks could be.

The paper can be downloaded here.

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