The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last. Although there are still some fringe terrorist groups in the western Sahel or other rural areas that do not supplement their violence digitally, it is only a matter of time before they also go online.
Thomas Rid ("Cyberwar and Peace," November/December 2013) describes cyberattacks as somehow separate from conventional warfare because they fail to meet all three of Clausewitz's definitions of war as violent, instrumental, and attributable to one side as an action taken for a political goal.
Cyberwar Is Coming!" declared the title of a seminal 1993 article by the RAND Corporation analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argued that the nascent Internet would fundamentally transform warfare.
In March 2011, the U.S. computer security company RSA announced that hackers had gained access to security tokens it produces that let millions of government and private-sector employees, including those of defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, connect remotely to their office computers.
Most critical information systems in the United States are operated by the private sector and remain vulnerable to cyber attacks. Newly proposed legislation would require businesses to meet minimum standards of protection, but has raised concerns about regulatory overreach.
In spite of significant differences in views, Beijing and Washington appear committed to not letting cyber issues derail the U.S.-China relationship or interfere with cooperation on other high-profile issues. Among the wide range of issues raised at their recent meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping reiterated their commitment to last September’s breakthrough cybersecurity agreement.
Authors: Adam Segal and Tang Lan The National Bureau of Asian Research
While there continue to be significant differences between the perspectives of the U.S. and Chinese governments on issues in cyberspace, recent progress to overcome these challenges suggests a path forward, writes Adam Segal. Substantive cooperation on cybersecurity, cybercrime, and Internet governance can help both countries avoid a conflict over cyberspace.
In this January 2016 article, Knake argues that the United States needs to improve its cyber hygiene and “clean up” its cyberspace in order to reduce the number of malware infections and botnet attacks launched from domestic computers.
Recent terrorist attacks and resulting questions about the limits of surveillance have rekindled debate about how governments should deal with the challenges of powerful, commercially available encryption. With active debate in the United States and Western Europe surrounding this issue, it is instructive to note that Israel has been regulating encryption for decades.
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