Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar

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The protection of cyberspace, the information medium, has become a vital national interest because of its importance both to the economy and to military power. Some attackers tamper with networks to make money; others, to steal information; yet others, to be able to disrupt operations. Future wars are likely to be carried out, in part or perhaps entirely, in cyberspace. It might seem obvious that war in yberspace is like war in other media, but nothing would be more misleading. Cyberspace has its own laws; for instance, it is easy to hide identities and difficult to predict or even understand battle damage, and most attack methods lose their usefulness quickly with repeated use. Cyberwar is nothing so much as the manipulation of ambiguity. The author explores these topics in detail and uses the results to address such issues as the pros and cons of counterattack, the value of deterrence and vigilance, and other actions the United States, and the U.S. Air Force, can take to protect itself in the face of deliberate cyberattack.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780833047342
  • Publisher: RAND Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 499,617
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface iii

Figures ix

Tables xi

Summary xiii

Acknowledgements xxi

Abbreviations xxiii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Purpose 5

Basic Concepts and Monograph Organization 6

Chapter 2 A Conceptual Framework 11

The Mechanisms of Cyberspace 12

External Threats 13

Internal Threats 20

Insiders 20

Supply Chain 21

In Sum 22

Defining Cyberattack 23

Defining Cyberdeterrence 27

Chapter 3 Why Cyberdeterrence Is Different 39

Do We Know Who Did It? 41

Can We Hold Their Assets at Risk? 52

Can We Do So Repeatedly? 56

If Retaliation Does Not Deter, Can It at Least Disarm? 59

Will Third Parties Join the Fight? 62

Does Retaliation Send the Right Message to Our Own Side? 64

Do We Have a Threshold for Response? 65

Can We Avoid Escalation? 69

What If the Attacker Has Little Worth Hitting? 70

Yet the Will to Retaliate Is More Credible for Cyberspace 71

A Good Defense Adds Further Credibility 73

Chapter 4 Why the Purpose of the Original Cyberattack Matters 75

Error 76

Oops 76

No, You Started It 77

Rogue Operators 78

The Command-and-Control Problem 78

Coercion 79

Force 82

Other 86

Implications 90

Chapter 5 A Strategy of Response 91

Should the Target Reveal the Cyberattack? 92

When Should Attribution Be Announced? 93

Should Cyberretaliation Be Obvious? 94

Is Retaliation Better Late Than Never? 96

Retaliating Against State-Tolerated Freelance Hackers 98

What About Retaliating Against CNE? 102

Should Deterrence Be Extended to Friends? 104

Should a Deterrence Policy Be Explicit? 106

Can Insouciance Defeat the Attackers Strategy? 108

Confrontation Without Retaliation 109

The Attackers Perspective 112

Signaling to a Close114

Chapter 6 Strategic Cyberwar 117

The Purpose of Cyberwar 118

The Plausibility of Cyberwar 121

The Limits of Cyberwar 122

The Conduct of Cyberwar 125

Cyberwar as a Warning Against Cyberwar 126

Preserving a Second-Strike Capability 127

Sub-Rosa Cyberwar? 128

A Government Role in Defending Against Cyberwar 129

Managing the Effects of Cyberwar 131

Terminating Cyberwar 135

Conclusions 137

Chapter 7 Operational Cyberwar 139

Cyberwar as a Bolt from the Blue 143

Dampening the Ardor for Network-Centric Operations 149

Attacks on Civilian Targets 153

Organizing for Operational Cyberwar 154

Conclusions 158

Chapter 8 Cyberdefense 159

The Goal of Cyberdefense 160

Architecture 165

Policy 167

Strategy 169

Operations 170

Hardware 171

Deception 171

Red Teaming 173

Conclusions 173

Chapter 9 Tricky Terrain 175

Appendixes 179

A What Constitutes an Act of War in Cyberspace? 179

B The Calculus of Explicit Versus Implicit Deterrence 183

C The Dim Prospects for Cyber Arms Control 199

References 203

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