Aug 18 2008

Cyberwarfare: “…it’s a war being fought with paintballs, not with live rounds.”

Published by at 3:18 am under General

Let’s face it: we don’t have the tools available to tell us what’s really been happening in the ‘cyberwar’ between Russia and Georgia. The information coming out on the story have been little more than rumor and accusations, with little or no real data available to make a clear call. And, after writing up a lot of innuendo, most reporters have come to the same conclusion.

We don’t have a clear definition of the term cyberwar. Even calling it a war is misleading in and of itself. Unless the power grid is being attacked, causing potential threats to people’s lives, what we call ‘cyberwar’ is really nothing more than a denial of service attack. It’s an attack on a country’s communications network, but do we call taking out the telephone’s in a country ‘telewar’? No, we just look at it as a strategic move in the larger picture of war.

I like Ethan Zuckerman’s take on cyberwar: It’s just a DDoS attack and calling this war is like calling hackers terrorists. Sure, ‘cyberwar’ garners more headlines than ‘Denial of Service attack’ does, but in the end, it’s misleading and sensational. Not that I expect that sort of headline grabbing to stop soon, but at least some people out there know beter.

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One response so far

One Response to “Cyberwarfare: “…it’s a war being fought with paintballs, not with live rounds.””

  1. Bouchon 19 Aug 2008 at 9:25 am

    Hi Martin

    I read a story a while back about the U.S. cyberwarfare potential through a botnet. If I remember right, the article was going to use government systems to create the denial of service attacks, but what if they opened it up to U.S. citizens? Much like the SETI project, an average American could assist their country’s defense by allowing the government to utilize their computer system as a weapon. I know I would grant them permission to use my machine as part of a botnet if ever at war with a sophisticated nation.

    Here’s a link to the article http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2008/05/3375884

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