Essays Tagged "Europe's World"

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Book Review: Cyber War Will Not Take Place

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Europe's World
  • October 1, 2013

Cyber War Will Not Take Place
by Thomas Rid
Hurst & Co., 2013, 218 pp.
ISBN: 978 1 84904 280 2

Cyber war is possibly the most dangerous buzzword of the Internet era. The fear-inducing rhetoric surrounding it is being used to justify major changes in the way the internet is organised, governed, and constructed. And in Cyber War Will Not Take Place, Thomas Rid convincingly argues that cyber war is not a compelling threat. Rid is one of the leading cyber war sceptics in Europe, and although he doesn’t argue that war won’t extend into cyberspace, he says that cyberspace’s role in war is more limited than doomsayers want us to believe. His argument against cyber war is lucid and methodical. He divides “offensive and violent political acts” in cyberspace into: sabotage, espionage, and subversion. These categories are larger than cyberspace, of course, but Rid spends considerable time analysing their strengths and limitations within cyberspace. The details are complicated, but his end conclusion is that many of these types of attacks cannot be defined as acts of war, and any future war won’t involve many of these types of attacks…

Understanding the Threats in Cyberspace

  • Bruce Schneier
  • Europe's World
  • September 27, 2013

The primary difficulty of cyber security isn’t technology—it’s policy.  The Internet mirrors real-world society, which makes security policy online as complicated as it is in the real world. Protecting critical infrastructure against cyber-attack is just one of cyberspace’s many security challenges, so it’s important to understand them all before any one of them can be solved.

The list of bad actors in cyberspace is long, and spans a wide range of motives and capabilities. At the extreme end there’s cyber war: destructive actions by governments during a war. When government policymakers like David Omand think of cyber-attacks, that’s what comes to mind. Cyber war is conducted by capable and well-funded groups and involves military operations against both military and civilian targets. Along much the same lines are non-nation state actors who conduct terrorist operations. Although less capable and well-funded, they are often talked about in the same breath as true cyber war…

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.