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Security personnels work to protect assets from cyber attacks.

Criminals use computer networks as cheap, anonymous weapons.

Heading Off Hackers

April 2011, Number 02.02

“The Internet has changed almost all aspects of human life, including warfare. Every political and military conflict now has a cyber dimension whose size and impact are difficult to predict.

Computers and computer networks have provided a new delivery mechanism that can increase the speed, diffusion and significance of a national security threat. The constant evolution of information technology tends to leave both cyber law and cyber defense breathless. The ubiquity and amplification power of the Internet often make the battles fought there seem more important than events taking place on the ground.

The intangible nature of cyberspace , however, can make the calculation of victory, defeat, and battle damage a highly subjective undertaking. Even knowing whether one is under cyber attack can be a challenge.

National security thinkers are therefore struggling with the complexities of cyber conflict for a wide variety of reasons, including an ignorance of its technical foundations, media-fueled paranoia, and a desire to take advantage of hacking’s high return-on-investment before it goes away.

This article seeks to articulate cyber warfare in basic concepts and definitions, enhancing the discussion on cyber defense strategies and tactics...”

Excerpt from Kenneth Geers, “Heading Off Hackers,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 2, No. 2, 2011: 22-27.

Kenneth Geers (PhD, CISSP), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is a scientist and the U.S. representative to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD CoE) in Tallinn, Estonia. He has served as an intelligence analyst, a French and Russian linguist, and a computer programmer in support of strategic arms control initiatives.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.