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Is Cyberwar Real?

Gauging the Threats

Authors: Jarno Limnell, and Thomas Rid
March/April 2014
Foreign Affairs


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. Therefore, he says, "cyberwar has never happened in the past, it is not occurring in the present, and it is highly unlikely that it will disturb the future." But his argument is a simplified representation of the complex realities of war and security today and their inherent links to cyberspace.

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