Georgia’s Cyber Left Hook

SSI

Georgian-Russian hostilities in South Ossetia have generated a substantial amount of analysis and speculation regarding the accompanying cyber conflict.5 Most of the focus has centered on identifying the parties who conducted the cyber attacks. The Georgian cyber event provides an intriguing opportunity to examine a more subtle and perhaps overlooked aspect of cyber conflict—the concept of cyber neutrality. The Georgian case raises two fundamental questions: (1) How did the combined actions of the Georgian government and US information technology (IT) companies impact American status as a cyber neutral? (2) Can the United States remain neutral (or cyber neutral) during a cyber conflict?

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Deterrence Stability in the Cyber Age

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Technical and operational realities make it prohibitively difficult to adapt a Cold War paradigm of “deterrence stability” to the new domain of cyber warfare. Information quality problems are likely to forestall the development of a cyber equivalent of the strategic exchange models that assessed deterrence stability during the Cold War. Since cyberspace is not firmly connected to geographic space the way other domains are, modeling is extremely difficult, muddling the neat conceptual distinctions between “counterforce” (military) and “countervalue” (civilian) targets. These obstacles seriously complicate US planning for a credible cyber “assured response” and present substantial challenges to potential adversaries contemplating cyber attacks against US interests. To create a maximally effective deterrent against cyber threats, the United States should seek to maximize the challenges for possible opponents by creating a cyber “strategy of technology,” emphasizing resilience, denial, and offensive capabilities.

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Tallinn Manual

Tallinn Manual

 

From Amazon.com

The product of a three-year project by twenty renowned international law scholars and practitioners, the Tallinn Manual identifies the international law applicable to cyber warfare and sets out ninety-five ‘black-letter rules’ governing such conflicts. It addresses topics including sovereignty, State responsibility, the jus ad bellum, international humanitarian law, and the law of neutrality. An extensive commentary accompanies each rule, which sets forth the rule’s basis in treaty and customary law, explains how the group of experts interpreted applicable norms in the cyber context, and outlines any disagreements within the group as to each rule’s application.