LibLink | Nick Harvey: Forget a cyber Maginot line

Nick Harvey, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, writes over at Comment is Free about potential threats to digital networks, and calls for a global consensus on cyberspace security:

Threats do not just come from malicious viruses or organised criminals stealing people’s identity or money. Digital networks are now at the heart of our transport, power and communications systems, and our economy as a whole. This reliance brings the capacity for warfare to cyberspace. The consequences of a well-planned, well-executed attack against our digital infrastructure could be catastrophic. In this way, a single networked laptop might be as effective a weapon as, say, a cruise missile.

The national security strategy identifies cyber-attack in the top tier of risks to the UK over the next five years. An extra £650m has now been allocated to create a national cyber security programme to fund work across government in partnership with business and other experts to strengthen our understanding, our resilience and our defences.

Understanding is key. In the military sphere, whenever a new domain opens up, like air and space flight in the last century, the temptation is to devise wholly separate doctrines to address the new environment. But we must remember that cyber crime, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, or cyber war are simply crime, terrorism, espionage or war by other means. Cyberspace adds a new dimension, but its use in warfare should be subject to the same strategic and tactical thought as existing means. Action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield, but it will be integrated rather than separate, complementary rather than alternative. Suggestions that cyber weapons will replace traditional weaponry are fanciful to say the least. Cyber will be part of a continuum of tools with which to achieve military effect, both defensive and otherwise, and will be an integral part of our armoury. That is why the MoD has created a new cyber operations group under the command of General Jonathan Shaw to mainstream cyber across the whole spectrum of defence operations and to ensure that the same framework of command and control that exists for traditional operations exists for cyber too.

Nick goes on to discuss the blurring of traditional boundaries – geographic, political and technical – and concludes:

We need to think and act internationally because cyberspace is international space and the rules that govern it will be international too.

Read the whole piece at Comment is Free.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.
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