VERTIC releases report for Remote Control project on cyberspace threats, consequences and solutions

This VERTIC report, commissioned by the Network for Social Change’s Remote Control project, analyses the impact of cyber assets and threats on states’ security strategies and international stability. The report aims to provide an introductory approach to the subject that can help inform the development of concepts, planning and policy-making on cyber security issues.

The report examines several prominent international cyber attacks from the last decade, offering an overview of their context, attack methodologies and the consequences of these incidents. The report also assesses recent attempts to develop internationally-agreed instruments to establish norms and rules for increasing stability in cyber space.

The paper considers the potential impact of cyber threat perception and attack capabilities in different contexts, including civilian life, theatres of war and high-level state-to-state relations. Using these findings, the paper explores how international policy-makers might respond and prepare for future vulnerabilities, and how potential instability and escalatory tendencies could be mitigated through international cooperation at the technical level.

Alberto Muti, co-author of the report says:

“Given the importance cyber warfare has assumed in the strategic outlook of many nations it is essential to be able to accurately analyse cyber attacks to better understand their effectiveness and impact. However, current debates on cyber security has often ignored complexities in the field, aiming instead for hyperbolic statements regarding the potential dangers of cyber attacks. This will have a negative impact in the long run fostering the ‘Cool War’ dynamic whereby states engage in continuous attrition and escalation, leading to an erosion of trust between states and greater government control hampering civilian’s day to day lives.”

Caroline Donnellan, manager of the Remote Control project says:

“The rising importance of cyber security issues is part of a global trend of moving towards war by ‘remote control’. The appeal of cyber warfare that increases the ability to strike a broad range of targets with limited consequences for the attacker, like other types of remote warfare, comes at a cost. Difficulties of attribution and the blurring between state and non-state actors means there are serious accountability and oversight concerns regarding this warfare.”

Remote Control is a project of the Network for Social Change hosted by the Oxford Research Group that looks at the current developments in military technology and the re-thinking of military approaches to future threats.

  • Listen to an interview with Alberto Muti on Austrian Radio's "Reality Check";
  • Read the Oxford Research Group Press Release for "Cyberspace: An Assessment of Current Threats, Real Consequences and Potential Solutions".

Last changed: Nov 24 2014 at 4:37 PM

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