Conquest in Cyberspace: National Security and Information Warfare

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Doubleday, Purchase at Amazon. In , Stoll, a systems administrator at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, was asked to resolve what looked like an accounting error of 75 cents. He found that the anomaly was created by a hacker who had used nine seconds of computer time without paying, and he eventually tracked the incident back to a group of German citizens who were stealing information on the Strategic Defense Initiative and other sensitive projects and selling it to the KGB.

International Cyber Conflict and the Rise of ‘Information Warfare'

Besides being a gripping thriller, his book lays out most of the issues that define cybersecurity today: incident response, the problem of attribution, overlapping investigative and legal authorities, public-private partnerships, and the necessity of international cooperation. Comparative Strategy , Vol. In this article, Arquilla and Ronfeldt do much to shift focus away from just technology to the social implications of the information technology revolution.

They were among the first to point out what is now common wisdom: that communication technologies erode hierarchies, collapse time and distance, and empower networks.

Future Warfare

They also make the point, expanded on in later works such as In Athena's Camp and Networks and Netwars , that cyberattacks are about the control, distribution, and safety of information -- "a strategic resource that may prove as valuable and influential in the post-industrial era as capital and labor have been in the industrial age. Information Warfare and Security. By Dorothy Denning. AddisonWesley Professional, There is an unfortunate tendency among journalists and politicians to call every breach in computer security an act of cyberwar, when, in fact, the vast majority of incidents have little to do with war, and many are conducted by nonstate actors.

The Chinese threat to the United States, for example, is primarily cyberespionage, and the attackers appear to be a mix of state actors and proxies. Different types of attack require different policy tools, and domestic and international responses. For her part, Denning identifies three -- crime, deception, and sabotage -- and gives real-world examples of how the risk of each can be mediated. Vanity Fair , May It is now a rather stale insight that cybersecurity involves tradeoffs; many understand that one easy way to improve security is to reduce the anonymity and free access that make the Internet so innovative.

In his essay for Vanity Fair , however, Gross manages to bring these ideas, and the battle for control over the Internet, to life. His stories center on Vint Cerf, Jeff Moss, Joshua Corman, and Dan Kaminsky -- all part of what he calls the "forces of Organized Chaos" -- who work to manage the balance between privacy and stability, to "ensure integrity of the Internet itself as a reliable, independent, and open structure.

Strategic Warfare in Cyberspace. By Greg Rattray. MIT press, But the primary goal of cyberwarfare, he explains, is to provide warfighters with a nonkinetic means of striking enemies without permanently destroying infrastructure. The second goal is to disrupt, deny and degrade enemy operations and prevent them from strategizing and communicating. His team, which consists of 20 government engineers and support contractors, uses software-defined radio, electronic warfare, signals intelligence and other technologies to help build what the Army refers to as its future force.

There are two categories of offensive cyberwarfare.

Conquest in Cyberspace: National Security and Information Warfare

The first is tactical: disrupting your opponent's command and control to erode informational and technological advantage. It's the fog of war that creates uncertainty and confusion in military operations, Lewis explains. For instance, you could hack into a Blue Force Tracker system and replace the blue dots signifying allies with red dots indicating enemy troops. He cites some real-world examples, including a air raid by Israel, which hacked into Syrian military systems to make it appear as though its airspace was clear, and Russia's distributed denial of service attack on Georgian government websites.

The second category of offensive cyberwarfare is strategic: striking targets on your opponent's homeland. Both types of cyberwarfare are rare. There are a very limited number of incidents that could constitute an attack. The high-profile commercial attacks on businesses such as Google, Sony and Lockheed Martin are criminal and damaging — they're a virulent new form of economic espionage — but they're not warfare, Lewis contends. There are economic disruptions and those that constitute cyberconflicts, defense analysts say, but to get to cyberwar, you have to be two political actors locked in a struggle.

A notebook computer and an Internet connection — that's all that's needed to launch a cyberattack. Your opponent can decompose your attack and even try to strike back, but you can switch to another computer on a different network.


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The low cost of cyberweapons and offensive advantage opens the door to rogue nations or even nonstate actors that wouldn't normally have the opportunity to attack a world power. Having offensive tools at the ready can serve as a deterrent to these potential attackers. For instance, what works on one particular waveform or network may not work on another. How do you manage that? How do you train somebody to be proficient in them?

It would be akin to teaching soldiers to use a different gun for each enemy. His team at CERDEC is working to create a common look and feel for cybertools so they're easy to learn, and to develop a common framework so developers don't have to start from scratch with each weapon. Another challenge comes from the nature of technology.

Some hurdles his team faces aren't technical. Indeed, its very success is what has turned the Internet into a potential venue of warfare. Hackers can and do attack information systems through cyberspace. They can attack the cyberspace itself through operations against the networks that provide the basis for this new medium. Defenders thus must keep these hackers out of their systems. If hackers get in, they could wreak great damage.

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At a minimum they might steal information. Worse, they can make systems go haywire. Worst, they could inject phony information into systems to distort what users think they absorb when they deal with systems. None of this requires mass, just guile. For that reason, attacks in cyberspace do not need the same government backing as attacks in older media do. Any group, or even individual, can play — even, perhaps especially, terrorists.

Such would be a bloodless attack from afar that left no traces but could cause the systems we rely on to crash mysteriously. Perhaps needless to add, although advanced nations have more at stake in cyberspace than developing nations do, the latter are increasingly being drawn into its domain.

Conquest in Cyberspace - National Security and Information Warfare - PDF Free Download

Thus, they too are vulnerable to attacks from what are, in general, the larger and more sophisticated cohorts of hackers from the first world. By such means, cyberspace has joined air and outer space as a new medium of conflict. This may be because the last three wars in which cyberspace could have played a role — Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, respectively — were against countries with minimal presence in cyberspace.

They had little that the United States could attack, or at least attack more efficiently than conventional means already permitted it to do. So far, other countries have lacked the sophistication and will to do much damage to the U. Space and information operations have become the backbone of networked, highly distributed commercial civilian and military capabilities. This opens up the possibility that space control — the exploitation of space and the denial of the use of space to adversaries — will become a key objective in future military competition.

Similarly, states will likely develop offensive information operations and be compelled to devote resources to protecting critical information infrastructure from disruption, either physically or through cyber space p. Lost in this clamor about the threat from hackers is another route to conquest in cyberspace, not through disruption and destruction but through seduction leading to asymmetric dependence. The seducer, for instance, could have an information system attractive enough to entice other individuals or institutions to interact with it by, for instance, exchanging information or being granted access.



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