Feeds

War boffin: Killer cyber attacks won't happen

Die Hard 4 is just a movie, kids

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

People worried about a cyber-war should calm down and stop worrying because it will never happen, a war studies academic has said. In the paper Cyber War Will Not Take Place Dr Thomas Rid confidently argues that hacking and computer viruses never actually kill people.

An act of war must have the potential to be lethal, says Dr Rid, of King's College London, writing in The Journal of Strategic Studies, but hacking and cyber-attacks have much more in common with spying than, say, nuclear bombs.

He believes that although a "cyber war" conforms to the traditional definition of a two-sided conflict, a lethal one will never take place.

"The threat intuitively makes sense," Dr Rid says. "Almost everybody has an iPhone, an email address and a Facebook account. We feel vulnerable to cyber-attack every day. Cyber-war seems the logical next step."

But worriers are misguided: Dr Rid states that to constitute cyber-warfare an action must be a "potentially lethal, instrumental and political act of force, conducted through the use of software". Yet, he says, no single cyber attack has ever been classed as such and no single digital onslaught has ever constituted an act of war.

He concludes: "Politically motivated cyber-attacks are simply a more sophisticated version of activities that have always occurred within warfare: sabotage, espionage and subversion."

Wait for those deadly country-wide digital infrastructure attacks, Dr Rid, just you wait.

The paper was published in The Journal of Strategic Studies ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.