The Coming Cyberpeace

The Normative Argument Against Cyberwarfare

A computer server room is the first line of attack, and defense, when it comes to cybersecurity. Tristan Schmurr / Flickr

The era of cyberconflict is upon us; at least, experts seem to accept that cyberattacks are the new normal. In fact, however, evidence suggests that cyberconflict is not as prevalent as many believe. Likewise, the severity of individual cyber events is not increasing, even if the frequency of overall attacks has risen. And an emerging norm against the use of severe state-based cybertactics contradicts fear-mongering news reports about a coming cyberapocalypse. The few isolated incidents of successful state-based cyberattacks do not a trend make. Rather, what we are seeing is cyberespionage and probes, not cyberwarfare. Meanwhile, the international consensus has stabilized around a number of limited acceptable uses of cybertechnology—one that prohibits any dangerous use of force.

Despite fears of a boom in cyberwarfare, there have been no major or dangerous hacks between countries. The closest any states have come to such events occurred when Russia attacked Georgian news

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