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2.1.1 Cyber-Attack v. Cyber-Exploitation
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.
  • 1 William A. Owens, Kenneth W. Dam, and Herbert S. Lin, Committee on Offensive Information Warfare, National Research Council; The Basic Technology of Cyberattack in Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities, 2009, pp.9-12,32.

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