Cyber Warfare as a Superficially Tempting Low-Level Engagement Strategy

10 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2013

See all articles by Joanna Caytas

Joanna Caytas

University of Oxford, Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care

Date Written: April 26, 2013

Abstract

At first sight, and against certain counterparties, cyber warfare has appeared and proved to be a phenomenally low-cost and low-risk tool of adversarial foreign policy. But while questions increasingly arise about exposure to reciprocal risk to the most heavily digitized knowledge- and data-based economy and society, it has become clear that the genie will never again return into its bottle. Strategic, legal, and political questions will not be dodged much longer. The very advantages of cyber warfare may easily and all too quickly be turned against a first mover, especially one as vulnerable as a highly digitized industrial state. Its use for asymmetric warfare increases attractiveness to non-state actors. And one of its arguably greatest potential, the disruption of enemy economic functionality by disruption of payment systems has regularly been vetoed in the interest of the integrity of the global system. It may appear that the philosophy underlying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as treaties banning use of chemical and biological weapons may provide even stronger rationales in an understanding to ensure mutual non-aggression by digital electronic means between major and even mid-size powers.

Keywords: Cyber attacks, low-level engagement, Stuxnet, targeted attack, vital infrastructure, dual use technology, strategic vulnerability

Suggested Citation

Caytas, Joanna, Cyber Warfare as a Superficially Tempting Low-Level Engagement Strategy (April 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2348852 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2348852

Joanna Caytas (Contact Author)

University of Oxford, Nanotechnology for Medicine and Health Care ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

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