Cyberattacks Among Rivals, 2001-11

(Sam Pepple/ Sample Cartography)

From Brandon Valeriano and Ryan Maness' "The Fog of Cyberwar":

"Of the 20 ongoing interstate rivals in our study, China and the United States cybertargeted each other the most. According to our study, Beijing attacked U.S. assets 18 times and Washington returned fire twice. Two notable attacks were the 2011 Pentagon raid, which stole sensitive files from the Defense Department, and the 2001 theft of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter-jet schematics. These attacks get only a moderate severity score because they targeted specific, nonessential state documents and were not intended to affect the general public. Over the same time span, India and Pakistan targeted each other 11 times (India five times, Pakistan six), as did North and South Korea, with North Korea being the aggressor ten times and how many for South Korea launching one return attack. These ranged from minor incidents, such as Pakistan defacing an Indian government website, to more serious ones, such as North Korea stealing sensitive state documents from South Korea.

Israeli-Iranian tensions have risen in recent months, but despite all the talk, this conflict is not playing out in the cybersphere. There were only eight cyberattacks between these states from 2001 to 2011, four launched by Israel, four by Iran. Although Stuxnet and Flame were more severe, Iranian attempts to disrupt government websites have not been very sophisticated. And Israel's near-insistence of an armed conventional attack proves that even the most sophisticated cyberattacks are not changing state behavior."

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