This chapter introduces some basic issues and ideas that will be relevant for the entire course. We begin in 2.1 with fundamental concepts, including the important distinction between cyber-attack and cyber-exploitation, characteristics of cyber-operations, why offense beats defense in cybersecurity, and the attribution problem. Then Section 2.2 offers various perspectives on the seriousness of the cyber threat. Finally, Section 2.3 explores the idea of cyber power.
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Cyber-Attack v. Cyber-Exploitation. This is a fundamental distinction throughout cybersecurity that has important legal, policy, and jurisdictional implications. A cyber-attack is an act that disrupts, denies, degrades, or destroys information on a computer network or related system. Examples include the manipulation or destruction of data or code on a computer system to control or shut down an electricity grid, or to disrupt military communications, or to render banking data unreliable. A cyber-exploitation is the act of monitoring and related espionage on computer systems, as well as the copying (and thus theft) of data on these systems. In contrast to a cyber-attack, cyber-exploitation does not seek to affect the normal functioning of the computer or network from the perspective of the user. Examples of cyber-exploitation include stolen military secrets, intellectual property, and credit card numbers.
Attribution on the Internet can mean the owner of the machine, the physical location of the machine, or the individual who is actually responsible for the actions. This paper teases apart the attribution problems in order to determine under which circumstances which types of attribution would actually be useful.
There is no doubt that cybersecurity is a serious problem due to the widespread dependency on computer and computer systems, and their extraordinary vulnerability. But how much of a problem? This is a difficult issue to analyze because (as we learned in 2.1) metrics are hard to come by in the cybersecurity realm, and because many actors have incentives to exaggerate the threat.
Cyber War goes behind the “geek talk” of hackers and computer scientists to explain clearly and convincingly what cyber war is, how cyber weapons work, and how vulnerable we are as a nation and as individuals to the vast and looming web of cyber criminals.
This book begins by describing how electronic data has become “ambient”— all electronic activities are aggregated as data, behavior patterns are identiﬁed, and the resulting information is used per the needs of whoever has the data. Brenner argues that the most vulnerable part of any network is the user, however particular attention is also given to operational infrastructure systems.
An interactive representation of the G20 countries’ cyber power. It allows users to adjust the components of the cyber power index, including: Legal and Regulatory Framework, Economic and Social Context, Technology Infrastructure, Industry Application.
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