Cyber-Warfare and New Threats to National Security
Recent spy scandals hitting the headlines reveal how worth is information in contemporary world. While intelligence gathering has always been a critical and inescapable aspect in international politics, new technologies offer unprecedented tools to monitor foreign governments, their economies and defense planning. In developed countries, information infrastructures are at the same time a fundamental bedrock that makes contemporary societies work as well as a source of vulnerability. This is why information systems are considered a critical asset, not only for traditional intelligence purposes but also for security reasons. This ISPI Study offers an appraisal of some critical aspects of cyber warfare. After a brief commentary on the Obama administration's reactions to Edward Snowden's revelations about the e-spying carried out by the United States, the Study deals with the risks for Critical Information Structures (CII).
While representing an essential groundwork that allow modern societies to work and live, they have been developed without considering security as a top priority; thus, they can be subject to serious external threats. In the second place, the analysis provides an assessment over cyber deterrence capabilities against cyber-attacks. Although recent progresses improved those capabilities, deterrence in the cyber domain remains scant if not inadequate. In the third place, this ISPI Study
evaluates the Offense/Defense balance in cyberspace underlining those features of cyberspace crucial in giving offence some advantages over defense. This unbalance in favor of offense almost certainly will make cyber-attacks more likely in the future. Finally, it suggests a practical mechanism to increase the effectiveness of defensive measures against cyber-attacks reducing the application exposure to hostile incursions.
Deep throat Edward Snowden's revelations about the e-spying carried out by the United States set off a political storm in Washington and the capitals of its allies and is spurring President Barack Obama to speed up the timing for reforming the Nsa.
Critical information infrastructures (CII) can be considered the "nerves and arteries" of advanced societies and their economies. Without such in-frastructures it would be impossible for a society to function and its economy to grow.
In April of 2007, General James Cartwright, then head of the Strategic Command, testified that, in cyberspace as with any other warfighting domain, the best defense was a good offense. Accordingly, he asked Congress to support his belief that the United States should develop an offensive cyberwar capability.
The way wars are fought has changed dramatically in the past decades. While the tip of the iceberg rests on fancy devices - like drones or the so-called smart bombs - a deeper and even more radical process is going on.
From Chancellorsville to Normandy the aim of any successful attacker is to "hit them where they don't expect it". So the goal of defensive planning has always been to ensure that the attacker's only option is a thoroughly prepared defense.