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Parsing Cyberwar – Part 1: The Battlefield

Summary of this post by Marcus Ranum: This series is based on a lecture I presented at RSA Conference in March 2012. In it, I will attempt to isolate some of the strategic elements of the “cyber” battlefield so that we can better understand the inner dynamics of its components. This is important to do, because cyberwar frequently combine elements of the battlefield in ways that are confusing and perhaps even contradictory. In order to incorporate cyberwar into grand strategy, it is important not to do it in a way such that we step on our own toes, so I believe that a better understanding of the problem will be valuable to attacker and defender, alike.

Article deleted at author’s request.


(7)  Next Up

In the next part of this series, I will describe some of the deeper synergies and conflicts that may arise between these subtypes of cyberwar. In the final part, I will offer some high-level analysis of our response strategies in those areas and where we can expect defensive or offensive capabilities to overlap.

Parsing Cyberwar: the series

  1. The Battlefield
  2. The Logistical Train
  3. Synergies and Interference
  4. Patch #1 – Lessons from the Gauss malware
  5. The Best Defense is a Good Defense

(8)  For More Information

(a)  For a lengthy bibliography

See the FM Reference Page about Cyber-espionage and Cyber-war!

(b)  Some ather articles:

  1. Winn Schwartau, “Information Warfare” – (wikipedia)
  2. Cyberwar is Coming!”, John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, Comparative Strategy, Spring 1993 — republished in a RAND report (pdf)
  3. The Farewell Dossier – (wikipedia) Economic spoiler operation or counter-espionage?

(c)  Other articles by Marcus Ranum:

  1. Obama knows how to lead America by exploiting our fears,  5 June 2009 — About cyberwar
  2. Cyberwar: a Whole New Quagmire.  Part 1: The Pentagon Cyberstrategy, 2 September 2011
  3. “Do as I say, not as I do” shall be the whole of the law, 11 September 2011
  4. Conflating Threats, 14 September 2011
  5. About Stuxnet‏, the next generation of warfare?, 29 September 2011 – Introducing Stuxnet and some of the issues surrounding practical malware-based warfare.
  6. Cyberwar: a Whole New Quagmire – When the Drones Come To Roost, 8 October 2011
  7. About Attribution (identifying your attacker), 21 October 2011
  8. You must Be >this< Tall To Play Cyberwar (has DoD grown enough yet?), 16 December 2011