Is there a such thing as a cyberwar? 1

Intelligence Squared held an interesting and thought provoking debate recently where the concept of cyberwar was addressed.

The central issue in the debate is this: Are we justified in calling any form of aggression carried out in a synthetic space such as the internet a “war”?

In my estimation Bruce Schneier brings up some very good points and concerns in his portion of the debate. Points and concerns that, as far as I could tell, were never really addressed by his opponents.

As attacks, specifically attacks likely carried out between government organizations, become more frequent settling the question of cyber warfare will only get more and more important.

Some questions worth considering are: Where are the lines between enemy combatants and non-combatants? Are there any “civilians” in a cyberwar? Should we give up trying to secure everyone and split off “critical” parts onto their own private network? What about the weapons of a cyberwar? Have we thought about what it means to consider information as a weapon in itself?

All of these questions have serious ramification in how we go about addressing the issues we face. And if we consider the issues to be important, how much more important are the terms and definitions that frame the issues? It is wise to not offer an answer or solution without first making sure one has the question or issue properly defined.

Here is the full IQ2 debate to help give you a good overview of the issue:

The Cyber War Threat Has Been Grossly Exaggerated from Intelligence Squared US on Vimeo.

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