Academic journal article Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

A Discussion on Cyber Warfare

Academic journal article Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

A Discussion on Cyber Warfare

Article excerpt

Talking Foreign Policy is a production of Case Western Reserve University and is produced in partnership with 90.3 FM WCPN ideastream, Cleveland's NPR affiliate. Produced quarterly, the program is hosted by Case Western Reserve University School of Law Interim Dean Michael Scharf and focuses on the most relevant foreign policy issues of the day. (2) The January 30, 2014 broadcast covered the constantly evolving field of cyber warfare, and featured the following guests:

* Peter Singer, Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Brookings Institution;

* Michael Newton, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University;

* Milena Sterio, Associate Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law; and

* Shannon French, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western Reserve University

* Archived broadcasts of Talking Foreign Policy in both audio and video format are available at Foreign Policy.


Cyber Warfare--January 30, 2014 Broadcast

MICHAEL SCHARF: Welcome back to Talking Foreign Policy. I'm your host, Michael Scharf, Interim Dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In today's broadcast, we'll be discussing the topic of cyberwar. (3) We'll begin our discussion with Peter Singer, Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. (4) Oxford University recently published Peter's new book on cyberwar and cybersecurity. I just finished reading it and it's an eye opener. Peter, thanks for being with us today.

PETER SINGER: Thank you.

MICHAEL SCHARF: So, Peter, we hear so much about cyber threats and cyberwar in the news. Where do we stand now?

PETER SINGER: It's interesting, this topic of cybersecurity and cyberwar. It connects issues that are as personal as your privacy or your bank account to as weighty as reach of world politics. Where we stand is that we are definitely in an age of huge cyber dependence--everything from our communications to our commerce, infrastructure, and, yes, conflict. Ninety-eight percent of military communication runs over the civilian owned and operated internet, so we all depend on this cyber world. We live in a digital world, and yet we're also in an era of cyber insecurity. You can see it in everything from the 97% of Fortune 500 companies that have been hacked, (5) and the 3% who just don't know it yet, to--there have been created over 100 cyber military command equivalents around the world. There was a poll taken--the first poll of 2014 by PEW--found that Americans are more afraid of a cyber-attack than they are of Iranian or North Korean nuclear weapons, the rise of China or authoritarian Russia, or climate change. (6) So, we've got this combination of massive use of the online world and its rippling effect into the real world via the Internet of Things. (7) But also, we're not in a good place, in terms of our discomfort and, frankly, our lack of awareness on just the basics of this topic and that was the point of the book--to try to connect those two together.

MICHAEL SCHARF: I suppose there's a spectrum. On one side, we've got the hacking like we were talking about and then maybe surveillance, but on the other side is this concept of cyberwar, which you also devote several chapters to. How is this cyber warfare different from conventional war?

PETER Singer: You hit it exactly. Part of the problem with how we've approached it is we lump together so many things simply because they take place in the realm of zeroes and ones. A good illustration of this would be General Alexander, who is in charge of both Cyber Command and the National Security Agency. (8) You would never see that with other military commands and intelligence agencies, but because it's in this we do. But, he testified to Congress that each day, in his quote "the US military faces millions of cyberattacks," (9) but to get that number of millions he was combining everything from political protests and pranks to data theft and espionage. …

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